In 2012, over 29 million Americans had diabetes—that’s almost 10% of the population or one in every ten people. Of those 29 million people, 8 million were undiagnosed, meaning they didn’t even know they had diabetes.
Could you or someone you know be one of those undiagnosed people? Here’s a rundown of four of the most overlooked symptoms of Type 2 diabetes:
1. Increased Urination and Feeling Overly Thirsty:
Although this is a classic diabetes symptom, it’s also very frequently missed by patients. Many people assume that perhaps they’re just drinking too much before bed, or maybe that frequent trips to the bathroom at night are simply part of getting older. Although this can be the case, being thirsty and going to the bathroom often could also be symptoms of diabetes. Diabetes causes your kidneys kick into overdrive as they try to empty all the excess glucose from your body. The result is feeling the urge to go… a lot. If this sounds like a familiar symptom, a doctor’s checkup might be in order.
2. Slow-Healing Wounds:
This symptom is especially easy to miss because most people don’t keep track of how long it takes for something small, like a paper cut, to heal. When your blood vessels are damaged by too much glucose, it’s difficult for blood to travel throughout your body to heal the wound. So if you have recently been injured, think back on how long it took for you to feel better. Perhaps the last time you bumped your leg our stubbed your toe, the bruise and soreness lasted for more than a few days, or maybe an injury you sustained even got infected. Pay attention to healing time the next time you’re injured–it can tell you more than you’d think.
3. Irritability and Fatigue:
Unfortunately, these symptoms can just be part of daily life, and it can be hard to tell them apart from the regular stress of life. With diabetes, your body is working overtime, expending a lot of extra energy to make up for its glucose deficiency. If fatigue is something you’ve been dealing with for a long time, get it checked out.
4. Skin Problems and Itchiness:
Who would have thought that an itch might be more than just an itch? Be on the lookout for dry, itchy skin. Also look for acanthosis nigricans, which appears as patches of dark, rough skin. Acanthosis nigricans is most common in areas where there are skin folds, such as the neck or armpit, and should be examined by a doctor.
These four every-day symptoms may not seem like much to worry about when they occur in isolation, but added together they can signal a much bigger problem. If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you—especially more than one of them—make an appointment with your doctor right away. Although diabetes cannot yet be cured, it can be managed. The sooner you can begin treatment, the better off you’ll be.
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