According to the NIDDK, some signs of type 2 diabetes can be subtle because the condition develops slowly over time compared to type 1 diabetes. In fact, symptoms may not appear for several years, so you may not realize you have the disease until it causes complications such as heart problems or blurred vision.
While having just one of these symptoms isn’t a sure sign of the disease, pay attention to whether you’re experiencing several of them. A dry mouth may not be enough to warrant a doctor’s visit on its own, but if it is accompanied by other symptoms on this list and you also have any of the risk factors mentioned above, it may be worth getting checked out.
Here are some type 2 diabetes symptoms to be aware of:
1. You need to pee all the time
Too much sugar in the blood is hard on the kidneys because those organs are in charge of processing the extra glucose. As a result, they work tirelessly to rid the body of it. As your body loses fluids, you may notice signs of dehydration. As a result, you drink more fluids to compensate, and the cycle of constant peeing continues. As a result, frequent urination and increased thirst are two of the most common type 2 diabetes symptoms, especially in the early stages.
2. You need to pee right now
Despite peeing more frequently, you may have a strong desire to go but very little—if any—comes out when you do, a condition known as urgency incontinence. Although this is a strong indication that you may have a urinary tract infection, especially if you have vaginal discharge, it is also common in people with type 2 diabetes.
3. Your mouth is extremely dry
When you pee more frequently, your chances of becoming dehydrated increase, which often triggers your thirst response. With type 2 diabetes, the excess glucose in your system draws the fluid from your tissues, intensifying your thirst. This can be exacerbated by a dry mouth and the feeling that you simply cannot drink enough water or other fluids to quench your thirst.
A dry mouth is defined by a lack of saliva on a regular or frequent basis; a dry, rough tongue; pain in the mouth; cracked lips; mouth sores or infections; and difficulties chewing, swallowing or even talking.
4. You experience strange changes in your vision
Diabetes patients may also develop diabetic retinopathy, a condition that causes diabetic retinopathy over time. This is because high blood glucose levels harm all of your body’s tiny blood vessels, including those in your eyes. This is a problem because the blood vessels in the eyes will then rupture and leak fluids, causing complications such as cloudy or blurry vision or difficulty focusing. Treating diabetic retinopathy in time is essential to prevent vision loss.
5. You’re hungry all the time
Even if you eat a large meal, you may feel hungry afterward. Because insulin resistance prevents glucose from reaching your cells and providing the much-needed energy boost that food provides, your brain and muscles continue to send hunger signals.
6. You’re constantly fatigued
Because glucose is not being processed effectively in your body, the blood sugar spike you experience after eating can cause severe fatigue. Dehydration can make you tired, as can difficulty sleeping if your symptoms are bothering you.
Furthermore, as your blood sugar levels fluctuate, so will your mood. Fatigue naturally contributes to irritability. All of this can increase stress, which can further raise blood sugar levels, creating a vicious cycle.
7. Even minor cuts seem to take forever to heal
Diabetes can impair circulation, causing blood to move more slowly through your body. When this happens, your body has a more difficult time getting fresh blood and immune cells to where they’re needed.
Uncontrolled blood sugar can also impair your immune response in general. Wounds become extremely problematic for some people with type 2 diabetes because they do not heal at all.
8. Your weight is fluctuating, but you don’t know why
Weight is a complicated subject when it comes to any health condition because each person’s body has unique needs. However, significant weight gain or loss can be a sign of type 2 diabetes for a variety of reasons. For starters, many of the symptoms listed above—hunger, dehydration, fatigue, irritability, or sleep problems—can cause large swings in your appetite, causing you to eat more or less.
Furthermore, if insulin fails to transport glucose into your cells, your body will attempt to generate its own energy by burning fat or muscle, which is why weight loss can be an early sign of type 2 diabetes.