1. An Insatiable Appetite
We all feel extra hungry at times but people with diabetes may have what seems like an “unquenchable” appetite. This can be an issue for many reasons, especially the fact that overeating can lead to obesity, which is dangerous for diabetics. Because diabetes messes with your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, it causes your brain to think it is actually starving, when in fact, it’s not.
2. Increased Urination
One of the biggest signs of pending diabetes or full-blown diabetes is an increased need to urinate.
This condition is called polyuria and is characterized by an “abnormally large production or passage of urine that is greater than 2.5 or 3L over 24 hours in adults.
Normally, a healthy adult will have to pee between 6 – 7 times in a 24 hour period (although between 4 and 10 times a day can also be normal depending on how often and how much you drink).
According to the American Diabetes Association, having to get up in the night to pee several times is a red flag for diabetes as it means your kidneys are working overtime in order to rid themselves of excess sugar.
3. Excessive Thirst
We all get thirsty sometimes, especially if you eat a lot of salty or processed foods and drink alcohol, but excessive thirst, even after you drink, is a tell-tale sign you may have diabetes.
If you find you are regularly drinking more than 4 litres (1 gallon) or more per day you may have a condition known as polydipsia (7).
That being said, a 2011 study shows that drinking about “four or more 8-ounce glasses of water a day may protect against the development of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia).” (8)
Researchers showed that people who drank more than 34 ounces of water a day were actually 21 percent less likely to develop high blood sugar than those who drank only 16 ounces or less a day.
If you find, however, that you are experiencing more thirst than usual, speak to your doctor to determine if you blood sugar levels are within normal ranges.
Read more: how to reverse diabetes
4. Weight Loss
While many people would not complain if they started to lose weight, unintentional or weight loss that cannot be explained, is one sign of diabetes.
Weight loss of between 5-10 kg (11-22 lbs) in just weeks or months is something you should speak to your doctor about (9).
This symptom is more likely to occur in people who have developed type 1 diabetes and can be dangerous as the lack of blood sugar tricks your brain into thinking it is starving so to compensate, it starts to break down protein in your muscles, which causes the weight loss.
5. Feeling Tired and Weak
In diabetes, sugar does not reach the cells, which leaves them starving for energy, which leaves you lack lustre and weak.
In cases of diabetes, your body must also work overtime to compensate for the erratic sugar levels. This, along with your kidneys having to work extra to rid themselves of this extra sugar, can eventually take a toll on you (10).
While feeling exhausted alone is not a sign of diabetes (there can be many reasons), if you find you are lacking energy and simply exhausted for no reason, you should speak to your doctor.