15 subtle signs of diabetes

15 subtle signs of diabetes

You may have diabetes and not know it.

Diabetes affects more than 34 million people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, and about 20% don’t know they have it.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that happens when your blood sugar, or your glucose, is too high. This can happen when your body does not regulate sugar well because it does not produce enough insulin or because your body does not process sugar efficiently.

Risk factors include being overweight, having a family history or having gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

“If you are over the age of 45, or you have risk factors, it’s important to be screened regularly,” says Dr. Sanaa Khan Deshmukh, an endocrinologist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL.

But what if you don’t fall into one of these categories?

Dr. Deshmukh outlines 15 subtle symptoms that may indicate diabetes. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms:

  1. Increased need to urinate; more urine volume
  2. Being very thirsty
  3. Increased hunger
  4. Bad breath, especially an unpleasant sweet and fruity smell
  5. Bleeding or swollen gums, receding gum line and mouth pain
  6. Blurry vision
  7. Bruises and cuts that take a long time to heal
  8. Losing weight without trying
  9. Increased fatigue
  10. Dizzy or fainting spells
  11. Yeast and fungal infections (eye styes, athletes foot, vaginal infections, jock itch and ringworm)
  12. Dark spots around your neck and armpits
  13. Tingling or numbness in your hand and/or feet
  14. Itchy, dry skin
  15. Sexual dysfunction

It’s important to not let diabetes run amok for too long, as it can cause damage to just about every system and organ in your body. Dr. Deshmukh offers the following tips to prevent or control diabetes:

  1. Lose weight. Even 5% of your overall weight can make a huge difference for obese people.
  2. Maintain a healthy, balanced diet with a reduced amount of refined sugars.
  3. Walk as much as possible, and especially after every meal.
  4. See your doctor if you notice any changes in your body. A simple blood test can determine if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Want to learn more about your diabetes risk? Take a free online quiz.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.