Early Signs of Diabetes: #1 Symptom People Ignore

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

Today, we look at the top symptoms of diabetes-and one symptom in particular that regularly goes unnoticed by doctors and patients alike.

Early Signs of Diabetes | #1 Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms People Ignore

Over 37 million Americans are living with diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it. In fact, most people don’t find out they have type 2 diabetes until they experience health complications from long-term damage caused by the disease. These health complications include heart disease, cancer, nerve damage, fatty liver, blindness, and more.

Type 2 diabetes can go undetected for years because the warning signs can be so mild that you don’t notice them. This is especially true in its earliest stages. The warning signs of type 2 diabetes include:

  • frequent urination, often at night
  • increased thirst and hunger
  • unexpected weight loss
  • Lack of sharpness of vision or blurry vision
  • numbness or tingling in feet and hands
  • dry, itchy skin and dark patches on skin (acanthosis nigricans)
  • wounds that heal slowly
  • repeated infections, including yeast infection

And the one symptom that most often gets overlooked is fatigue.

There are so many reasons you may feel fatigued, like overworking, stress, not getting enough sleep, depression or other mood disorders. Most people who experience fatigue wouldn’t think that it’s caused by diabetes. So it’s easy to see why it’s often ignored.

But there is a way to tell whether your fatigue is due to diabetes or if it’s caused by something else.

While fatigue experienced at any time may indicate a blood sugar imbalance, fatigue after a meal is highly suggestive of diabetes. This symptom is also known as postprandial somnolence.

If you always feel tired and sleepy after a meal, despite getting sufficient sleep at night, get tested for diabetes, especially if you have other symptoms as well. The sooner you have a diagnosis, the sooner you can manage your blood sugar.

Next, how does eating too much sugar cause fatigue?

When your body detects high amounts of glucose or sugar molecules in the blood after eating a meal, it releases insulin from your pancreas.

Insulin is a hormone that allows your cells to absorb glucose present in the blood, to either convert it into energy or store it as fat for later. The rate at which all of this happens depends on how fast your blood sugar levels rise.


Complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables and whole grains, take longer for your body to break down. This allows glucose to be released into your blood more slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar followed later by a gradual fall.

But when you drink fruit juice or eat highly processed foods, the complete opposite happens. These foods are quickly broken down and cause a large amount of glucose to enter your blood all at once.

There is a higher spike in blood sugar, which is then followed by an even more drastic fall, sometimes called a sugar crash.

The best way to prevent blood sugar spikes is to limit or remove sugary or highly processed foods from your diet.

If you’re just starting out, here’s a list of foods you should remove or gradually phase out of your diet in order of importance:

1. Soft drinks. A single 12-ounce (355-mL) can of soda contains as much as 8 teaspoons of sugar.

2. Fruit juices. Fruit juices contain the same amount of sugar as soft drinks. Choose whole fruit or canned fruit with no additional sweetening instead.


3. Candies and sweets. Try to limit your consumption of sweets.

4. Baked goods. These include cookies, cakes, and pies, among other pastries. They tend to be very high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.

5. Low-fat or diet foods. Foods with the fat removed from them are often very high in sugar to make up for the lack of flavor.

6. Drink water instead of soda or juices and don’t add sugar to your coffee or tea.

7. Stop using sugar in your recipes. Instead, use herbs and spices for flavoring like cinnamon, nutmeg, almond extract, vanilla, ginger, or even lemon.

And if you haven’t already started being more active, try to exercise more often. You don’t have to do one-hour workouts if you’re just starting out. Something as simple as taking a 15-minute walk daily can make a big difference.