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Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes often has no obvious symptoms. However, sometimes there are early warning signs. If you have any of the following symptoms of diabetes, see your doctor:

  • frequent urination
  • extreme thirst
  • unexplained weight loss
  • extreme tiredness
  • frequent infections, especially of the skin, gums, vagina or bladder
  • blurred vision
  • cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • frequent irritation or moodiness
  • increased hunger
  • tingling or numbness in hands, legs or feet
  • very dry or itchy skin.

If you have any of these above symptoms, ask your doctor if you should be tested for diabetes.

Get Tested for Diabetes If You Are at Risk

You should also see your doctor about being tested if any of the following statements apply to you.

  • I am age 45 or older. (If your test is normal, you should be retested every 3 years.)
  • I am more than 20 percent over the weight recommended for my height and age. (For example, if your ideal weight is 150 pounds, you are 20 percent overweight if you weigh 180 pounds or more.)
  • I have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes.
  • I am African-American, Native American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian-American, or a Pacific Islander.
  • My HDL, known as the good cholesterol, is 35 mg/dL or lower.
  • I don't know what my cholesterol level is.
  • My triglyceride level is 250 mg/dL or higher, or I don't know what my level is.
  • I gave birth to one or more babies who weighed more than 9 pounds. Or, I have had gestational diabetes in the past.
  • I have had an impaired glucose tolerance or an impaired fasting glucose at some time in the past.
  • My blood pressure is 140/90 or higher.
  • I am not physically active at all.
  • I have polycystic ovary syndrome.

All of these factors increase your risk for diabetes. You should also be tested again if, in a previous test for diabetes, your doctor told you that you had a "higher than normal blood glucose."

Written by award-winning health writer Bobbie Hasselbring

Reviewed by Beth Seltzer, MD

Last updated June 2008