Don't Let Diabetes Sneak Up on You: Recognize These 8 Early Signs

Mar 22, 2024
Don't Let Diabetes Sneak Up on You: Recognize These 8 Early Signs
People with type 2 diabetes often experience no or only mild symptoms initially. As a result, they go undiagnosed and untreated, putting themselves at risk for a barrage of serious health problems. Read on to learn what early signs to look for.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic health condition that can cause many serious issues, including heart disease, chronic kidney disease, nerve damage, vision problems, and more. There is no cure, but with treatment — especially early treatment —  diabetes can be managed and sometimes even reversed.

Unfortunately, early signs of diabetes are often subtle and, therefore, overlooked. Of the roughly 40 million Americans who have diabetes, nearly 9 million are undiagnosed. 

Savitha Gowda, MD, Suruchi Kaul, MD, and Stephanie A. Gill, APRN, FNP-BC, of Norwood Medical Associates, in Norwood, MA, understand the importance of getting diagnosed early before complications occur.

In this month’s blog, they unpack eight early warning signs to be aware of. 

1. Excessive hunger

People with diabetes produce little or no insulin. Insufficient insulin interferes with the body’s ability to convert glucose (sugar) into energy. So even after eating plenty of food, they feel hungry.

2. Frequent urination 

Your kidneys filter excess glucose out of your blood. However, when glucose levels increase due to diabetes, your kidneys may become unable to keep up. As a result, more glucose is excreted into your urine.

Glucose is a solute. That means when it’s excreted into your urine, it brings more water, so you produce more urine — including at night when you should be sleeping. 

3. Excessive thirst or dry mouth

Frequent urination can lead to dehydration, which is why many people with diabetes are always thirsty. If you’re constantly thirsty and need to urinate frequently, your body may not be producing sufficient insulin.

4. Dry skin

Skin moisture can be difficult to balance when you have diabetes. If you notice your skin is dried out, particularly your feet, look for other possible signs of diabetes.

5. Slow to heal wounds

The higher blood sugar of a person with diabetes can inhibit the body’s ability to heal wounds. This is particularly dangerous if you don’t know you have diabetes because these wounds can cause nerve damage. Compounding the problem, when your nerves are damaged, it’s harder to feel when an affected body area has a cut, scrape, or blister. That means you may be less likely to seek treatment, and the wound can become infected. 

6. Tingling in your feet or hands

Nerve damage can lead to neuropathy, which causes pain and numbness in the legs, feet, and hands.


Without a professional diabetes management plan, diabetic neuropathy can eventually cause permanent numbness and even an increased risk of limb amputation.

7. Chronic fatigue

There are two reasons that diabetes can cause fatigue. The first is because your body doesn’t use glucose efficiently, your cells get less energy, making you tired. Secondly, frequent urination or diabetic neuropathy may make it challenging to get adequate sleep. 

8. Blurry vision

When your glucose level is high, excess sugar in your blood can damage the tiny blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to your eyes. Diabetes can also damage your corneas, the clear covering of your eyes. 

Without proper treatment, the result can be blurry vision and, over time, even permanent vision loss. 

Get screened for diabetes

Diagnosing diabetes requires only a simple blood test. So, if you have any early symptoms of this serious but highly manageable disease, come in and get screened. Request an appointment online by calling Norwood Medical Associates at 781-769-3113 today.