There are three main types of diabetes—type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant)—and knowing the signs you may have one of them can save your life. "Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy," says the CDC. "If you have any of the following diabetes symptoms, see your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested." Read on to see if you have any of them, according to the CDC—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss this urgent news: Here's How You Can Catch COVID Even If You're Vaccinated.
You Urinate a Lot, Often at Night
"Excessive thirst and increased urination are common diabetes signs and symptoms. When you have diabetes, excess glucose — a type of sugar — builds up in your blood," says the Mayo Clinic. "Your kidneys are forced to work overtime to filter and absorb the excess glucose."
You Are Very Thirsty
"Increased thirst in people with diabetes can sometimes be, but certainly not always, an indication of higher than normal blood glucose levels," says Diabetes.co.uk. "People with diabetes with access to blood glucose testing equipment may wish to test their blood sugar levels when they are thirsty to determine whether their blood sugar levels are going too high."
You Lose Weight Without Trying
"Insulin is a hormone that allows your body to use glucose (sugar) for energy," explains the Cleveland Clinic. "If you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn't use insulin effectively, and can't transport the glucose to the cells. Instead, it builds up in the blood.
When the glucose doesn't arrive in your cells, your body thinks it's starving and finds a way to compensate. It creates energy by burning fat and muscle at a rapid pace. This causes unexplained weight loss."
You Are Very Hungry
"In uncontrolled diabetes where blood glucose levels remain abnormally high ( hyperglycemia ), glucose from the blood cannot enter the cells – due to either a lack of insulin or insulin resistance – so the body can't convert the food you eat into energy. This lack of energy causes an increase in hunger," explains Diabetes.co.uk.
You Have Blurry Vision
"There are many things that can cause eye strain and blurry vision, such as spending a lot of time in front of a screen," saus UCLA Health. "But blurry vision is also a common warning sign for diabetes. If not caught early or properly managed, diabetes can damage the small blood vessels in the retina — a layer of light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that sends visual signals to the brain. This condition, called retinopathy, can result in blindness."
You Have Numb or Tingling Hands or Feet
"Diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet," says the Mayo Clinic. "Depending on the affected nerves, diabetic neuropathy symptoms can range from pain and numbness in your legs and feet to problems with your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart. Some people have mild symptoms."
You Feel Very Tired
"Many people with diabetes will describe themselves as feeling tired, lethargic or fatigued at times. It could be a result of stress, hard work or a lack of a decent night's sleep but it could also be related to having too high or too low blood glucose levels," says Diabetes.co.uk.
You Have Very Dry Skin
"If you have diabetes, you're more likely to have dry skin. High blood sugar (glucose) can cause this. If you have a skin infection or poor circulation, these could also contribute to dry, itchy skin," says the American Academy of Dermatology Association.
You Have Sores That Heal Slowly
"Diabetes can affect every part of the body, including the skin. In fact, such problems are sometimes the first sign that a person has diabetes," reports the American Diabetes Association. "Luckily, most skin conditions can be prevented or easily treated if caught early. Some of these problems are skin conditions anyone can have, but people with diabetes get more easily. These include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and itching. Other skin problems happen mostly or only to people with diabetes. These include diabetic dermopathy, necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum, diabetic blisters, and eruptive xanthomatosis."
You Have More Infections Than Usual
"High blood sugar levels can weaken a person's immune system defenses," reports APIC. "People who have had diabetes for a long time may have peripheral nerve damage and reduced blood flow to their extremities, which increases the chance for infection. The high sugar levels in your blood and tissues allow bacteria to grow and allow infections to develop more quickly."
What to Do if You Have These Symptoms
Before jumping to conclusions, contact your doctor to discuss whether or not you have signs of diabetes—and then you can get a blood sugar test and develop a treatment plan. "There isn't a cure yet for diabetes, but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can really help," says the CDC. "Taking medicine as needed, getting diabetes self-management education and support, and keeping health care appointments can also reduce the impact of diabetes on your life." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.