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Symptoms of Diabetes That People Might Ignore

Last updated: January 2023

Most people know what type 2 diabetes is, but not as many people know the signs and symptoms of diabetes. Before officially being diagnosed, a lot of people will research their symptoms to see if they match or if they can find another reason for the symptoms so they can dismiss them. Noticing the little signs can help lead you to a quicker diagnosis and treatment to avoid the possibility of long-term diabetes complications.

Type 2 diabetes symptoms before diagnosis

Diabetes is not quite a "silent" disease, such as high blood pressure, but the symptoms can be easily ignored because they don't cause pain or issues that bother many people enough to see a doctor.

Frequent urination

Urinating (peeing) more frequently, many times at night, is one of the most significant indications people experience when they have diabetes.1

You may notice yourself waking up every 2 hours to go to the bathroom and possibly even more frequently. For me, it felt like I took a diuretic right before bed. It was annoying, but as I said, it was not "enough" to talk to a doctor about it. I would drink less and see if that helped, which it didn't, and tied into the following prominent symptom people have, which is excessive thirst.

Excessive thirst

Excessive thirst can be so severe that some people can hydrate and never feel fully satisfied. On top of frequent urination, you drink more because you are thirstier.1

This creates a cycle that you might inadvertently use to dismiss the excessive urination because of all the drinking, and you think you are just dehydrated, which explains why you are drinking more. I would pee a lot at night but drink a lot overnight because I was thirsty.

It's not usually something that you worry about; you drink more water and move on. Then you assume because you are drinking more, you are peeing more. What goes in must come out. It's very easy to justify.

Fatigue

Another of what I consider the main symptoms of diabetes is fatigue or feeling very tired.1

Many people with diabetes also have other conditions that can cause fatigue. I had other health conditions for a while before being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and I quickly attributed my fatigue to those conditions.

Once I was diagnosed with diabetes, I could get my energy level back to what it was. There are so many things in the world and our daily lives that can cause fatigue; it's easy to ignore that sign and think of a million other reasons we are tired.

Numbness

The last main sign that can be a more serious indication and the possibility of unknowingly living with diabetes is numbness or tingling of the hands or feet.1

Hopefully, if you get this symptom, you will consult a doctor as soon as possible. This complication can be serious and permanent if it's not treated promptly.

It will just take a quick blood test and could save you a lifetime of complications and problems if you have diabetes. Even if you don't have diabetes, you should work with a doctor to determine what is wrong.

Don't dismiss your symptoms

As you can see, there are a lot of symptoms of diabetes that can be easily dismissed. If you have any new or old symptoms, talk to a doctor about them. Ask for a simple A1C blood test to see what your reading is.

Being diagnosed with diabetes or any other condition isn't fun, but ignoring it won't make it go away. The sooner you find out what is going on in your body, the quicker you can treat it and reduce the risk of complications.

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