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12 Diabetes Symptoms You Should Look Out For

Left unchecked, diabetes can cause lasting damage to your health. Be sure you're aware of the 12 key symptoms that could indicate a rise in your blood sugar levels.

Jayden Peters
12 Diabetes Symptoms You Should Look Out For
Table Of Contents

Diabetes is one of the fastest - growing challenges of the 21st century. If you have diabetes, your body cannot properly process and use glucose from your food. There are different types of diabetes, and each has different causes, but one common problem shared by all types is that there is too much glucose in the bloodstream.

Diabetes happens when your body cannot take glucose (sugar) into its cells and use it for energy when required. This results in a build-up of extra sugar in your bloodstream.

Mismanagement of diabetes can lead to severe consequences, causing damage to a wide range of your body's organs and tissues—including your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.

So diabetes is a life-altering yet manageable condition. To ensure your safety and well-being, you must stay up to date with the symptoms associated with diabetes. To get started on this journey of learning about this medical condition, here's an overview of all the critical elements at play for you to manage your diagnosis!

Risk Factors of Diabetes

Diabetes is a severe condition with countless risk factors, yet some are more common than others. Let's explore the top triggers behind your diagnosis, from family history to lifestyle choices and beyond!

Family History of Type 2 Diabetes

Family history is one of the risk factors in developing type 2 diabetes. A study reported that specific genes could be passed down from generation to generation. Therefore, If someone in your family has type 2 diabetes, you are at higher risk of developing it.

While lifestyle and environmental factors can also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, having a family history this disease does put you at increased risk, but does not mean you will develop it for certain.

Being Overweight

Being overweight can negatively impact your health and blood sugar levels. Overweight individuals are more likely to develop insulin resistance which causes their cells to be unable to properly use the hormone insulin, leading them down a dangerous road of high blood sugar levels.

The good news is that you lose weight through dieting, and exercising will reduce this risk considerably.

High Blood Pressure or High Cholesterol

If you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, then you are at risk of developing diabetes. A retrospective cohort study suggests strong evidence that developing type 2 diabetes increases further if you have uncontrollable high blood pressure and persistently high cholesterol levels.

Therefore, it is essential to keep healthy blood pressure and cholesterol to maintain sugar in your bloodstream. You can reduce this risk by bi-annual checkups, eating right, exercising often, and taking medication as per the doctor's advice. Take charge of your health so that you can feel good tomorrow.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Exposure to PCOS can lead to elevated sugar levels in the blood. PCOS is a common health disorder faced by many women, and it can bring about an array of unwelcome symptoms which can increase blood sugar in your blood.

Research suggests that polycystic ovarian syndrome is caused by hormone imbalance resulting in excess androgens, leading to elevated insulin resistance and increased odds of type 2 diabetes.

Also linked to PCOS is weight gain with the added risk of high cholesterol and triglycerides, which raises those blood sugar levels even higher. Fortunately, treatment options for PCOs do exist that can help.

History of Gestational Diabetes

Though pregnancy is a beautiful journey for any woman, unfortunately, if you have gestational diabetes during this phase, then you have an increased risk of developing diabetes in the future.

The gestational form of diabetes develops during pregnancy due to increased hormones that interfere with insulin production. Pregnant women need to be aware of their risk factors and receive regular screenings when necessary.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes can manifest in various ways, from fatigue to blurry vision. Explore the clues your body may be giving you—any out-of-the-ordinary feeling could mean it's time for an extra check-up with your doctor. Here is a quick overview of 12 warning signs of diabetes that you might be ignoring.

1. Eye-Related Problems

Diabetes can drastically impact your eyesight, resulting in potential vision loss or blindness. It's essential to be aware of the eye-related issues linked to diabetes. According to research, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma—of which can cause damage to delicate blood vessels in the retina.

It is also not uncommon for those with diabetes to develop cataracts (cloudy areas) within the eye's lens or macular edema (fluid leakage into detailed parts). Taking proper precautions now could mean seeing tomorrow.

2. Sensation-Less Feet

Having sensation-less feet is one of the frustrating symptoms of diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy of the feet can be a devastating consequence of diabetes, resulting in loss or reduction in sensation.

Symptoms such as burning pain, tingling, and numbness are all warning signs of diabetic neuropathy and should not go unnoticed. Taking proactive steps like keeping your feet clean & protected will help prevent further complications due to an impaired sense of touch.

3. Frequent Urination

Is frequent urination keeping you up at night? If so, it could be a warning sign that something more serious is happening. A study indicates that diabetes can cause the kidneys to work overtime and increase the need for trips to the bathroom.

Although this symptom can relate to other underlying conditions, don't ignore persistent urges; speak with your doctor if you have any concerns about possible underlying conditions.

4. Slow Healing Sores

Diabetes can put your body's healing abilities to the test. Not only does it affect circulation and nerves, reducing their effectiveness in speeding up wound recovery - it may even mean that minor cuts take longer than usual to close entirely.

Delayed wound healing happens because wound healing requires good and properly intact circulation. Since diabetes targets circulation, so impaired circulation also results in causing slow wound healing. If you are facing this issue, then it's time for you to see the doctor.

5. Kidney-Related Issues

Diabetes is a health condition that puts your kidneys at serious risk. The high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can damage your kidneys' filters, ultimately leading to kidney failure (also known as end-stage renal disease).

Kidney issues can be a signal that something bigger is at play. Some other symptoms include swelling in your extremities or feeling exhausted. If this happens, then make sure to check if they could be signs of diabetes. Keep yourself healthy by incorporating kidney support supplements into your routine.

6. Nerve Damage

You will be shocked to read that nerve damage can be a starting point to the series of events that can lead to diabetes. Because diabetes can cause severe nerve damage in many parts of the body, impacting areas such as the eyes, heart, and digestive system. This harm manifests through pain, numbness or tingling sensations, and loss of sensation.

So if you feel any of the above symptoms, don't ignore them. Moreover, weakened hands with a lack of coordination is another common symptom of diabetes.

7. Cardiovascular Complications

One of the alarming symptoms of diabetes includes a range of coronary artery diseases (CAD). CAD is caused by plaque buildup blocking vital blood flow to the heart—leading to a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke.

At the same time, CAD may or may not be accompanied by arrhythmias or irregular heartbeat, which can disrupt circulation. However, the narrowing of arteries due to poor circulation from diabetes causes painful numbness and dangerous high-blood pressure levels that could lead to further cardiovascular complications if left unchecked.

8. Gum Disease

Gum disease is an all-too-common dental condition, but it isn't just a cosmetic problem. If left untreated, the bacteria that cause infection can enter your bloodstream and increase your risk of developing diabetes.

Gum disease can turn into a symptom of diabetes, and this happens as inflammatory agents damage blood vessels throughout the body—making it harder for them to regulate glucose levels—and certain oral bacteria interfere with insulin production and usage. Don't miss out on this crucial information about how gum disease could impact you!

9. Unexplained Weight Loss

Unexplained weight loss is another ignored symptom that could indicate the presence of diabetes. Weight loss without effort can be a sign of diabetes because the body cannot appropriately utilize the nutrients it receives.

As a result, the body begins to break down its muscle and fat for energy, leading to weight loss. If you experience any of these symptoms, you must visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

10. Mood Swings

Mood swings occur due to the body's difficulty regulating blood sugar levels. When blood sugars are too high or too low, it can lead to feelings of irritability, fatigue, confusion, and anxiety. These mood changes can be caused by the body's reaction to the sudden changes in blood sugar levels. That is how your diabetes can go unnoticed!

Also, diabetes can cause depression due to the daily stress of managing one's condition. People with diabetes may also struggle to find the motivation to exercise, eat healthily, and take medications, leading to different mood swings. If you are experiencing mood swings related to diabetes, they may be able to provide advice and support to help manage your condition.

11. Feeling Thirsty Unusually

Do you find yourself reaching for a bottle of water more and more lately? Unexplained thirst could be an indicator that something is off with your body. Diabetes occurs when the body's insulin production can't keep up, causing it to pull extra fluids from other sources to maintain balanced glucose levels.

Seeking medical attention right away can help diagnose diabetes quickly so that treatment measures are taken immediately – avoid any health complications further down the line!

12. Extreme Fatigue

Do you feel unusually exhausted even when you get enough sleep? It might be time to check your blood sugar levels, as extreme fatigue may point towards underlying health issues such as diabetes, with high and low blood sugar leading to increased tiredness.

When your blood sugar levels become too high, the body breaks down large amounts of glucose into energy, leading to increased fatigue. On the contrary, when blood sugar levels become too low, the body does not have enough glucose to fuel the cells, resulting in fatigue and low energy.

So fatigue, lastly, can be a symptom that can put you in doubt regarding diabetes.

Ways to Minimize The Risk of Diabetes

Are you among those who want to live a healthy and diabetes-free life? You can find out how to reduce your risk with these simple steps. Don't let diabetes stand between you and living the best version of yourself.

Foods to Avoid If You Have High Blood Sugar

Make sure your diet is as healthy and wholesome as it can be. Here are some easy steps to help get you on the right track. Start by keeping processed carbs at bay, then say goodbye to sugary drinks. Plus, avoid trans fats like fried foods or snacks.

Replace refined sugars with healthy low glycemic index fruits. Be mindful of added sugars in sauces, dressings, and marinades too. It would help if you watched salt intake as it increases blood pressure, a potent risk factor for diabetes. Don’t forget to add loads of green leafy vegetables, minerals, and nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids.

Lastly, keep an eye on alcohol consumption. Take these simple tips on board today and enjoy a healthier lifestyle tomorrow.

Exercise to Lower Your Blood Sugar

Reap the rewards of regular exercise and help your body stay fit and healthy! Exercise can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, but it also helps to lower blood sugar levels, increase energy levels, and boost well-being—all while reducing insulin resistance.

By incorporating a balanced diet with physical activity into your routine, you could be protecting yourself from this condition by up to 58% – that's pretty amazing! Exercise isn't just great for our health; it's vital too. Make sure you get moving today so tomorrow is brighter than the last. It is not necessary to exercise outdoors; you can pull out your yoga mat and start exercising right at this moment.


1. What are some red flags that could indicate diabetes?

Unusual behaviors that may indicate low blood sugar levels include Infections, swollen or bloody gums, feeling especially thirsty, eye related problems, loss of sensation, frequent urination, delayed wound healing, fatigue unexplained weight loss, kidney problems, nerve damage, heart complications and foot sores

2. What is the most severe stage of diabetes?

While the term "end-stage diabetes" isn't commonly used, diabetes can result in end-stage diabetic complications, also known as advanced complications. Advanced complications, such as end-stage renal disease, develop in people with diabetes after many years of diabetes management.

3. What is the worst stage of diabetes?

Since type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease with no cure, it is considered worse than type 2.

In addition, according to a 2010 UK report, type 2 diabetes can reduce life expectancy by up to 10 years, while type 1 diabetes can reduce life expectancy by 20 years or more.

4. What are the 4 signs someone has a diabetic emergency?

Signs and symptoms include rapid pulse and breathing. Fruity, sweet breath. Excessive thirst. Drowsiness, leading them to become unresponsive if not treated (also known as a diabetic coma)

Final Words

Diabetes is one of the fatal diseases that can result in various disabilities. It should not be left unnoticed. Checking out these symptoms will help you save from its debilitating effects. Moreover, if you are at risk of developing diabetes, you can keep a check on your risk factors and modify them as much as possible. Share this piece of information around and save yourself and your loved ones.

Reading List

Article Sources

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  • Zakin, Elina, et al. “Diabetic Neuropathy.” Seminars in Neurology, vol. 39, no. 5, Oct. 2019, pp. 560–69.,
  • Harrison, Tabitha A., et al. “Family History of Diabetes as a Potential Public Health Tool.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 24, no. 2, Feb. 2003, pp. 152–59. ScienceDirect,
  • Boles, Annette, et al. “Dynamics of Diabetes and Obesity: Epidemiological Perspective.” Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease, vol. 1863, no. 5, May 2017, pp. 1026–36. ScienceDirect,
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Jayden Peters

Mr. Peters is a US based health and lifestyle content writer. He thinks healthy living is about flexibility, balance and discovering what works for your body. He is has notable experience in topics including health and wellness, yoga, fitness equipments etc.

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