25 Early Warning Signs of Diabetes You Shouldn't Ignore


25 Early Warning Signs of Diabetes You Shouldn't Ignore

Diabetes is a health issue that affects how your body deals with food's energy. It comes in two main types. Type 1 means the body doesn't make enough insulin. Type 2 is when the body doesn't use insulin well. This causes high blood sugar.1 Many people have diabetes without knowing it. It's smart to watch for the warning signs.2 Early detection can prevent problems like heart disease, nerve damage, and eye issues. Understanding the risks and regular checks after age 45 are key for better health.

25 Early Warning Signs of Diabetes You Shouldn't Ignore
  • Diabetes affects how the body uses insulin to process food into energy.
  • Noticing the early signs of diabetes is important because many are not aware they have it.
  • Early detection can stop problems like heart disease and nerve damage.
  • Screenings, especially after age 45, are crucial for managing and preventing diabetes.
  • Changing your lifestyle can slow or prevent the move from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.

Understanding Diabetes: A Metabolic Disorder

Diabetes affects how insulin helps the body turn food into energy.2 There are two types: Type 1 and Type 2.2 With Type 1, the body doesn't make enough insulin. With Type 2, it can't use insulin well.

Insulin is made by the pancreas. It lets cells use glucose in the blood. But in diabetes, the body struggles with insulin. This causes high blood sugar and health problems.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that messes with blood sugar. This can be due to not enough insulin (Type 1) or insulin not working right (Type 2).2 High blood sugar can cause issues like heart disease and eye problems.2

Types of Diabetes

There are two main types: Type 1 and Type 2.2 Type 1 happens when the body attacks the cells making insulin. Type 2 is when the body can't use the insulin it makes.2 Both can raise blood sugar too high.

The Role of Insulin

Insulin lets cells use glucose from the blood for energy.2 But if the body can't use or make insulin, problems occur. This leads to high blood sugar and health issues. Knowing how insulin works is important in treating diabetes.

Frequent Urination: A Telltale Sign

Frequent urination can be a sign of diabetes.1 It happens when the blood has too much sugar. In this case, the kidneys try harder to remove this extra sugar. This leads to more bathroom visits than usual.

Kidneys Working Overtime

Feeling super thirsty and having a dry mouth also comes with frequent urination.1 These are signs your body is trying to replace the lost fluids. It’s easy to overlook these clues. But, they can mean your glucose processing isn’t right.

Excessive Thirst and Dry Mouth

Needing to pee a lot, always feeling thirsty, and having a dry mouth are strong hints. These show your kidneys are extra busy, trying to lower your blood sugar.1 Spotting these signs early is key. They might seem small but are important clues of diabetes.

Unexplained Weight Loss or Gain

Sudden weight loss or weight gain might mean you have diabetes.1 If your body can't use or make insulin right, your weight can change fast without trying.1 With diabetes you might lose weight quickly because your body is using up fat and muscle to get by.3 But, you could also gain weight if your body can't control sugar levels well.1 So, watching for sudden changes in how much you weigh is smart. It could be a sign of diabetes growing.

Unexplained Weight LossUnexplained Weight Gain
- Can be a sign of undiagnosed diabetes1 - Body breaks down fat and muscle for energy1 - Doctors recommend investigating weight loss of more than 5%3 - Unintended weight loss may indicate underlying conditions like diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, thyroid issues, cancer, or heart conditions3Insulin resistance can lead to weight gain1 - Body struggles to regulate blood sugar levels1

Vision Problems and Blurriness

Blurry vision might be a sign of diabetes. When you have high blood sugar, your eye's lens can get bigger, causing blurred vision.1 If you don’t treat diabetes, it can hurt the blood vessels in your eye's retina, leading to vision loss.2

Diabetes and Eye Health

Getting your eyes checked often is key if you have diabetes. Early treatment can stop eye problems from getting worse.1 Things like blindness from diabetes can really change your life.2

Slow Healing of Wounds and Cuts

Slow healing of wounds and cuts could be a sign of early diabetes. High blood sugar slows down the healing process. This affects cuts, scrapes, and wounds.4 Wounds that take longer than a month to heal are called chronic. People with diabetes often face this challenge.

Nerve Damage and Diabetes

Diabetes can damage nerves, making it hard to feel pain from a wound. This increases infection risk.4 About 60% of diabetics have this issue. It causes numbness, especially in the feet and legs. So, injuries can go unnoticed and lead to serious ulcers.

Increased Risk of Infections

4 High blood sugar feeds bacteria, making them stronger. This challenges your immune system. Infections are more common in diabetics due to weak immunity.5 Diabetic wounds, if not treated, can get infected or even lead to amputation.5 These infections can cause problems like osteomyelitis. They might damage tissue and lead to complications.

Watching how fast cuts and wounds heal can alert you to possible diabetes.5 Getting medical help for slow-healing wounds is crucial. Early management and lifestyle changes are key to avoid severe issues.

Fatigue and Lack of Energy

Feeling tired all the time might be an early sign of diabetes. Insulin resistance can make cells struggle to use glucose for energy. As a result, you might feel worn out and have low energy.2 This issue is key in type 2 diabetes and often starts years before you get a diagnosis. If you're often tired or don't have much energy, it could be a warning that you might develop diabetes.

Insulin Resistance and Energy Levels

Insulin resistance comes before type 2 diabetes and can make you feel tired. When your body can't use insulin well to make energy, you end up feeling exhausted.2 Knowing how insulin resistance affects your energy is important. It helps you spot the early signs of diabetes before it's too late.

Tingling or Numbness in Hands and Feet

Feeling tingling or numbness in your hands and feet could be a sign of diabetes. This comes from a condition known as peripheral neuropathy. It's common in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.6 High blood sugar harms nerves in the limbs, leading to these sensations.

Peripheral Neuropathy

If you have diabetes, peripheral neuropathy can drastically affect your life.6 Over half of diabetes patients will face some form of neuropathy. It's the top cause of this nerve issue.6 It's vital to spot and treat it early to avoid severe problems like foot ulcers, balance issues, and loss of feeling.

Diabetes isn't the only cause of neuropathy.6 Conditions like Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and factors such as certain cancers, autoimmune diseases, and alcoholism play a role. So do vitamin deficiencies, mainly vitamin B-12.6

It's crucial to watch for any unusual feelings in your hands and feet. Act early to protect your nerves. Regular check-ups and managing your blood sugar can go a long way in preventing or slowing down peripheral neuropathy from diabetes.

25 Early Warning Signs of Diabetes You Shouldn't Ignore

Noticing early diabetes signs is crucial to stop the disease from getting worse. Symptoms like needing to pee a lot, blurry vision, slow healing, and tingling in your hands and feet are key warning signs. Other signs to watch for are dry skin, always being hungry, and change in weight. The CDC says one in five with diabetes doesn't know it.1

Recognizing the Symptoms Early

It's essential to keep an eye out for early signs of diabetes. Look out for things like needing to pee often, changes in vision, or slow to heal cuts. By catching these symptoms early, you can work to keep the disease in check.

Risk Factors for Diabetes

Knowing the risk factors for diabetes is as important as spotting the symptoms. Things that can raise your risk include family history, getting older, being obese, high blood pressure, and certain ethnicities. Don't forget about factors like aging and having a family member with diabetes.1 If you're at risk, regular diabetes screenings are vital to manage the disease early.

Early Warning Signs of DiabetesRisk Factors for Diabetes
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst and dry mouth
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow wound healing
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
  • Unexplained weight changes
  • Increased hunger
  • Dry skin
  • Family history
  • Age (over 45)
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Certain ethnic backgrounds

Prediabetes: A Precursor to Diabetes

Prediabetes happens before a diabetes diagnosis. Blood sugar levels are higher than normal. But, they aren't high enough to be called diabetes yet.2 This condition affects over 96 million U.S. adults, with many over 65.2 It's a clear warning that the body has trouble with blood sugar.1 When someone has prediabetes, it's a chance to stop diabetes from developing early on.

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Progression

Good news is, prediabetes can be turned around with healthy lifestyle changes.1 Adding 150 minutes of physical activity each week can really help. Plus, shedding 5-7% of body weight makes a big difference.1 What you eat is vital too. Cruciferous veggies, lean proteins, antioxidant fruits, and whole grains are good choices.

Making these changes can hold off diabetes.2 It's key to get tested often if you have prediabetes. Active care helps fight this health battle.


Diabetes is a serious metabolic disorder if not managed well.7 To deal with it, knowing the 25 signs and watching over your health is key.8 Look out for signs like going to the bathroom a lot or always feeling thirsty. Also, keep an eye on your vision, energy, and how fast cuts and bruises heal.

Know your chances of getting diabetes and get checked often, especially as you get older.7 Staying on top of your health helps you fight against diabetes and live a better life.

Prevention and catching diabetes early are critical to avoid its bad effects. Being aware, getting checked, and stepping in quickly puts you in charge of your diabetes risk. It helps you focus on your health and happiness for the long haul.


What are the main types of diabetes?

Diabetes comes in two main types. Type 1 diabetes means the body can't make insulin. Type 2 diabetes is when the body doesn't use insulin properly. Both types can make blood sugar levels too high.

What is the role of insulin in diabetes?

Insulin helps cells use glucose from the blood. When the body can't use or make enough insulin, blood sugar goes up. This is a problem in diabetes.

What is one of the key early warning signs of diabetes?

Frequent urination can show there's too much sugar in the blood. The kidneys work harder to remove sugar, leading to more bathroom trips.

How can unexplained weight changes be an early warning sign of diabetes?

Diabetes can cause sudden weight loss or gain. If your body can't use or make insulin, it impacts how you keep weight.

How can vision problems be an early indicator of diabetes?

Diabetes sometimes makes your vision blurry. High blood sugar can make the eye's lens swell. This leads to temporary blurry vision and can harm the retina over time.

How can slow wound healing be an early sign of diabetes?

If cuts and wounds take a long time to heal, diabetes might be the reason. High blood sugar can slow the body's healing process.

How can fatigue and lack of energy be an early warning sign of diabetes?

Diabetes can make you feel tired all the time. Without proper insulin use, cells can't produce energy from glucose well.

What is peripheral neuropathy and how can it be an early sign of diabetes?

Tingling or numbness in hands and feet can mean early nerve damage from diabetes. High sugar levels can hurt nerves, especially in your extremities.

What is prediabetes and how can it be a warning sign of diabetes?

Prediabetes happens when blood sugar is higher than normal but not yet at diabetes levels. It warns that the body is having trouble controlling blood sugar.

Source Links

  1. https://www.osfhealthcare.org/blog/dont-ignore-the-signs-of-diabetes/
  2. https://www.silversneakers.com/blog/early-signs-symptoms-diabetes/
  3. https://www.lifespan.org/lifespan-living/18-signs-and-symptoms-you-should-never-ignore
  4. https://www.healthpartners.com/blog/why-diabetic-wounds-wont-heal-and-tips-to-treat-them/
  5. https://www.personalabs.com/blog/why-your-wound-is-healing-slower-with-diabetes/
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peripheral-neuropathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20352061
  7. https://pharmeasy.in/blog/warning-signs-and-symptoms-of-type-2-diabetes/
  8. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/emotions/diabetes-burnout