9 Early Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes leads to a person’s blood sugar levels becoming extremely high. Initial symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst, and tiredness.

Type 2 diabetes happens to be a common condition. Above 37 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes, with almost 90–95% suffering from type 2 diabetes.

The onset of type 2 diabetes can be slow, and symptoms can be mild during the initial stages. That’s why many people may not realize that they have this condition.

In this blog, let’s find out the initial symptoms of type 2 diabetes and the significance of early diagnosis. Also, let’s find out the risk factors for developing this condition.

Initial Signs and Symptoms

The early signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be any one or more of the following:

  1. Increased Thirst

Do you feel thirstier than ever before? Maybe your body is trying to remove extra sugar from the blood. This can result in the body losing excessive water. This can may lead to dehydration. It will make a person feel thirstier than usual.

  1. Frequent Urination

If blood sugar levels are high, the kidneys try to eliminate the excess sugar by filtering it out of the blood. This may compel a person needing to urinate more frequently, especially during the night.

  1. Fatigue

Type 2 diabetes can impact a person’s energy levels and cause them to feel fatigued.

Type 2 diabetes occurs due to inadequate sugar moving from the bloodstream into the body’s cells.

  1. Frequent Hunger

People with diabetes often do not receive sufficient energy from their food. The digestive system breaks food down into a simple sugar called glucose. The body uses it as fuel. It has been observed among diabetic people that insufficient glucose moves from the bloodstream into the body’s cells.

That’s why, people with type 2 diabetes often feel constantly hungry, irrespective of how recently they have eaten.

  1. Slow Healing of Cuts and Wounds

High sugar levels in the blood may cause damage to the body’s nerves and blood vessels. It can adversely affect blood circulation. Accordingly, even small cuts and wounds may take many weeks or months to heal. Slow wound healing may also increase the risk of infection.

  1. Blurry Vision

An excess of sugar in the blood may cause damage to the tiny blood vessels in the eyes, leading to blurry vision which can occur in one or both eyes.

High blood sugar levels may also lead to swelling of the eye lens. This may cause blurred vision, However, it will improve if blood sugar levels reduce.

When a diabetic person ignores treatment, the damage to these blood vessels can become more severe, eventually leading to permanent vision loss.

  1. Patches of Darker Skin

Patches of darker skin forming on creases of the neck, groin, or armpit may also be caused due to diabetes. These patches may feel soft and velvety. This skin condition is called acanthosis nigricans.

  1. Tingling, Numbness, or Pain in the Hands or Feet

High blood sugar levels may adversely affect blood circulation and impair the nerves. Among patients suffering from type 2 diabetes, this may cause pain or a sensation of tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.

This condition is called neuropathy. It can deteriorate over time and may cause more serious complications if a person does not receive treatment for their diabetes.

  1. Itching and Yeast Infections

Extra sugar in the blood and urine provides food for yeast, which may cause infection. Yeast infections usually occur on warm, moist areas of the skin, like the mouth, armpits, and genital areas.

Generally, the affected areas are itchy. However, a person may experience burning, skin discoloration, and soreness as well.

Significance of Early Diagnosis

Recognizing the initial symptoms of type 2 diabetes can let a person receive a diagnosis and treatment sooner.

Availing proper treatment, modifying lifestyles, and regulating blood sugar levels can drastically improve a person’s health and quality of life and minimize the risk of complications.

Without treatment, persistently high blood sugar levels may cause acute and often life-threatening complications, such as:

  • nerve damage, or neuropathy
  • cardiac disease
  • stroke
  • foot problems
  • kidney disease, necessitating a person for dialysis
  • eye disease or loss of vision
  • sexual problems

Maintaining blood sugar levels under control is important to prevent a few of these complications. The longer blood sugar levels remain unregulated, the higher the risk of other health issues.

Untreated diabetes may also cause hyperosmolar hyperglycemic syndrome (HHS), leading to an acute and persistent hike in blood sugar levels. Generally, an illness or infection will trigger HHS, necessitating hospitalization. This sudden complication is most likely to affect older people.

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes. However, specific factors can increase a person’s risk. These risk factors are as follows-

  • living a sedentary lifestyle
  • being 45 years of age or older
  • eating an unbalanced diet
  • having overweight or obesity
  • having polycystic ovary syndrome
  • having a family history of diabetes
  • having prediabetes
  • having a medical history of gestational diabetes, heart disease, or stroke

Diabetes and Ethnicity

The prevalence of diabetes varies among races and ethnicities. According to The American Diabetes Association, the following chart is the rate of diagnosed diabetes in adults in various groups.

  • American Indian/Alaskan Native 14.5%
  • non-Hispanic Black 12.1%
  • non-Hispanic white 7.4%
  • Hispanic 11.8%
  • Asian American 9.5%


Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that may lead to high blood sugar levels. Initial symptoms have been mentioned in this article. Anyone who suspects possible signs and symptoms of diabetes should immediately consult a doctor for an evaluation, particularly if they suffer from other risk factors for developing this condition. The initial detection and treatment of type 2 diabetes can improve a person’s quality of life and minimize the risk of acute complications.

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