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Undiagnosed Diabetics - What are the symptoms?

Updated on March 10, 2014

Diabetes Background Info

Twenty-six million Americans have diabetes; most have type 2 diabetes, which can be developed later in life. On top of that, an incredible 79 million Americans are pre-diabetic. This means that they have a very high risk of developing diabetes in the future.

Could you be one of those at risk? Yes, absolutely.

Did you know that there are approximately 7 million people in the U.S. that are undiagnosed? If you suspect you have diabetes, get tested today to be sure.

If you are diabetic, you can take steps to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, blindness, and other complications. If you are not diabetic, you can take steps to keep it that way.

Who do you know that has diabetes?

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Do I Have Diabetes?

How do you know if you are diabetic? Your doctor will diagnose the condition by administering a fasting glucose test or, if that is inconclusive, an oral glucose tolerance test. But even before you go to the doctor, there are distinctive signs and symptoms that may start appearing.

Knowing what these are can help you get tested as soon as possible; early action is always the best course of treatment.

If you think you might have diabetes, compare your symptoms with some of these typical diabetes symptoms:

  • Unquenchable thirst. It may feel that no matter how much water you drink, you are still thirsty. Excess sugar builds up in your body, and your kidneys have to work much harder to filter and absorb this sugar. If your kidneys can’t handle the job, your body draws fluids away from your tissues and excretes it, and the sugar, in your urine.
  • Frequent urination. As a result of unquenchable thirst, you’ll inevitably have to run to the bathroom more. When insulin levels are low, your kidneys can’t filter glucose. The fluid your body gives up is meant to dilute the glucose. The side effect is that your bladder is full more often.
  • Weight loss. This is more apparent in type 1 diabetes. Excess weight is a risk factor in developing type 2 diabetes, but weight loss does happen here, too, although much more gradually. It is also unhealthy weight loss; your body isn’t getting the glucose it needs for energy, so it starts to break down muscle tissue and fat.
  • Weakness and fatigue. Your cells are starved of energy because they either can’t react to the insulin in your body, or your body isn’t producing sufficient insulin anymore. This means the glucose stays in the bloodstream, not in your cells, which causes the fatigue.
  • Tingling in hands, feet, or legs. This is gradual, and you may not notice it in the early stages of diabetes. The tingling and numbness is a result of accumulated nerve damage. This can be reversible with proper blood glucose control.

Type 2 Diabetes

Living With Diabetes

People who are diagnosed with diabetes are often held to certain restricted, or healthy diets. However they can still eat many of the foods that the rest of their family enjoys as well. Healthy meals for diabetic patients might include a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, non-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and lean meats.

If you have a friend or family member with diabetes, respectfully offer sugar free gifts instead of the other over-sugar coated sweets out there for holidays and events. It's thoughtful to consider their health and offer a variety of sugar free desserts among other healthy choices if you're hosting any type of get together.

More Symptoms & More Help

You may also experience dry, itchy skin, frequent infections, slow healing for bruises and cuts, and blurred vision. If you notice any of these signs, see your doctor immediately. The American Diabetes Association has a quiz tool that can help you determine if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

It is important to remember that diabetes is a disease than can strike virtually anyone. If you think you might be diabetic, don’t sit around wondering. Go to your doctor and get tested. This can keep nerve damage from occurring and help you get started on a new, healthier path.

Seek Professional Advice

If you have any feelings that you might possibly have diabetes, it is best to see your healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Whether you find out that you do not have diabetes, that you do, or that you are somewhere in the middle with pre-diabetes, you will be able to develop a plan with your doctor to ensure that your health improves from here instead of deteriorates.

Better safe than sorry, right?

Prevention & Testing

How much do you know about diabetes?

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Well, how did you do in the quiz? There is a lot to know about diabetes.

If you are left wanting more information, you can visit the American Diabetes Association website for great facts and help.


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    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Diabetes is not a lot of fun to live with. I had no idea that that many people had it. Very well thought out and researched. Up, useful and interesting.

    • janices7 profile image

      Janice S 6 years ago

      What a useful hub! My Dad was just diagnosed and it has been a huge adjustment for the entire family. Thanks for sharing all this life-saving info.