Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Over the last decade, new cases of Type 2 diabetes have decreased – except in one important age group. Among people younger than 20 years old, Type 2 diabetes has risen significantly. All told, more than 34 million Americans – just over one in 10 have diabetes.

Sadly, many individuals aren’t aware they have diabetes. Signs and symptoms of Type 2 diabetes often develop slowly. In fact, you can have Type 2 diabetes for years and not know it. It’s important to know the symptoms.

Watch for these warning signs:

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination. Excess sugar builds up in your bloodstream and causes fluid to be pulled from tissues throughout your body. When you feel dehydrated, you may drink – and urinate – more than usual.
  • Increased hunger. Without enough insulin to carry sugar into your cells, your muscles and organs don’t get the fuel they need and are deprived of energy. This triggers intense hunger.
  • Weight loss. Despite eating more than usual to relieve hunger, you may lose weight. Without the ability to metabolize glucose, the body uses fuel stored in muscle and fat. Calories are lost as excess glucose is flushed out of the body in urine.
  • Fatigue. If your cells are deprived of sugar, you may become tired and irritable.
  • Blurred vision. When your blood sugar is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of your eyes. This may affect your ability to focus clearly.
  • Infections and slow-healing sores. Type 2 diabetes affects your ability to fight off infections and heal.
  • Skin damage. Some people with Type 2 diabetes have patches of dark, velvety skin in the folds and creases of their bodies – usually in the armpits and neck. This condition, called acanthosis nigricans, may be a sign of insulin resistance.

If you have any these symptoms and are concerned about Type 2 diabetes, talk with your doctor. He or she may order a blood glucose test to check for prediabetes or diabetes.

Sources: National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020leaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020; Type 2 Diabetes, leaving site icon Mayo Clinic, 2021.

Originally published 3/4/2016; Revised 2021

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