Type 2 Diabetes Early Warning Signs

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Although 24 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, it's estimated that an additional 5.7 million people have the disease but don't know it. Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose).

Glucose is vital to your health because it's an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It's also your brain's main source of fuel. If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your blood, although the causes may differ. Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems.

Chronic diabetes conditions include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Potentially reversible diabetes conditions include prediabetes—when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes—and gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy but may resolve after the baby is delivered.


Long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually. The longer you have diabetes—and the less controlled your blood sugar—the higher the risk of complications. Eventually, diabetes complications may be disabling or even life-threatening.

Possible complications include cardiovascular disease, nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney damage (nephropathy), eye damage (retinopathy), foot damage, skin conditions, and hearing impairment. 

Type 2 diabetes may also increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. The poorer your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be. Although there are theories as to how these disorders might be connected, none has yet been proved.

Signs & Symptoms

Type 2 diabetes doesn't always have clear symptoms and often isn't diagnosed until found accidentally during a physical or check-up. Some usual indications can include:

  • Feeling excessively tired
  • Unquenchable thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Numbness and/or tingling in feet or hands
  • Changes in eyesight, such as blurry vision
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Increase in infections or wounds that won't heal
  • Breath that smells fruity

If you, or someone you know, has one or more of these symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor.

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Article Sources

  • "National Diabetes Statistics, 2007." National Diabetes Clearing House. June 2008. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Web.
  • Keith, Taylor. "Type 2 Diabetes: Prevalence, Surgery, Complications & Cost." American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Web.