Early symptoms of Diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes

When we talk about the early symptoms of diabetes, we may as well be talking about prediabetes. Prediabetes blood sugar levels are higher than they should be, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes; the keyword being yet. If left untreated, prediabetes turns into full blown diabetes in 10 years or less. On the other hand, a timely prediabetes diagnosis can a give a person ample time to change their lifestyle and make any other necessary adjustments before it’s too late. In order to achieve that, though, you need to be able to recognize the warning signs.

Those warning signs include:

·         Increased thirst. 

·         Frequent urination. 

·         Fatigue.

·         Blurry vision.

·         Darkened skin areas.

A person with a predisposition to diabetes may not notice or even experience these symptoms. In case of doubt, you can take a hard look at yourself and see whether you fit common risk factors like the following:

·         Age (45 or older).

·         Obesity.

·         Family history of diabetes.

·         African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander ethnicity.

·         High blood pressure.

·         Fewer than six hours of sleep a day.

·         Inactivity.

·         Having had gestational diabetes.

·         Polycystic ovary syndrome.

The obvious complication resulting from prediabetes is of course type 2 diabetes. In that case, you would start to feel early symptoms of diabetes such as (in addition to the ones we’ve already mentioned):

·         Increased hunger.

·         Tingling or numbness in hands and feet.

·         Dry skin.

·         Slow-healing sores.

·         Increased infections.

Type 2 diabetes has its own set of complications, including:

·         Elevate blood pressure.

·         Elevated cholesterol.

·         Heart disease.

·         Stroke.

·         Kidney diseases.

·         Blindness.

·         Peripheral neuropathy.

·         Amputation.

Fortunately, prediabetes doesn’t become diabetes overnight, and there are several tests that confirm how high your blood sugar is and whether it has to (and can) be returned to normal levels. There are three main such tests:

·         Glycated hemoglobin test (A1C). Measures percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin to determine average blood sugar levels for the previous 2-3 months.

·         Fasting blood sugar test (FPG). Measures blood sugar levels from a blood sample taken after fasting during eight hours or overnight.

·         Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Same as FPG but after the first measurement the patient drinks a sugary solution, two hours after which blood sugar is measured again.


Blood sugar percentage/level





Less than 5.7%

5.7% - 6.4%

6.5% or higher


Less than 100mg/dl

100mg/dl – 125mg/dl

126mg/dl or higher


Less than 140mg/dl

140mg/dl – 199mg/dl

200mg/dl or higher

If you were to fall in the prediabetes category, there is one thing you could about it, and that would be losing at least 5% - 7% of body weight; or, 10 – 14 pounds for person weighing 200 lbs. Depending on where the scales tip for you that may seem like too little or like an awful lot; either way it can make a huge difference when it comes to diabetes and overall health. You can accomplish this goal through two different ways:

·         Eating healthily. Cut off fat, whole milk and dairy products, fried food, salad dressing, and sweets. Eat more whole grain cereals, oatmeal, whole grain rice, and whole-wheat bread, and varied fruits and vegetables. Drink less sodas and fruit-flavored beverages, and sugar sweetened coffee and tea. Decrease salt when cooking and in canned and prepared food. 

·         Exercising regularly. At least 30 minutes a day five times a week. Choose activities that work large muscles, increase heart rate and make you breathe harder, for example walking vigorously, hiking, climbing stairs, swimming, aerobics, dancing, bicycling, skating, skiing, tennis, basketball, or volleyball, as well strength training with hand weights, elastic bands, or weight machines.