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Type 2 Diabetes: Symptoms You Need to Know

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that affects over 25 million people in the US alone. Despite its prevalence, many individuals are unaware that they have this condition because its symptoms are often mistaken for minor annoyances.

This can lead to a delay in diagnosis and a greater risk of complications. In this article, we will explore the most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes, highlighting the importance of being aware of these signs and seeking medical attention if necessary.


Numbness in the hands, fingers, legs, and feet is a common early warning sign of type 2 diabetes. This occurs because high blood sugar levels decrease blood flow to the extremities and cause damage to nerve fibers. Numbness often starts as a tingling sensation and can progress to chronic pain over time.

Increased Urination

Increased urination, or polyuria, is a common symptom of type 2 diabetes. People with the condition may feel an overwhelming urge to urinate and pass abnormally large amounts of urine. This increased urination can lead to dehydration, which can decrease immune function and harm kidney function.

Weight Loss

Rapid and unexplained weight loss is a common symptom of type 2 diabetes, especially if the condition is not managed properly. When the body can’t absorb glucose (sugar), it begins to burn fat and muscle as a source of energy, which reduces overall body weight. If you have lost between 5-10 pounds of weight in less than 6 months, talk to your doctor immediately.

Increase in Appetite

An increase in appetite is often accompanied by weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes. The body is in a diabetic state and robbing cells of essential energy, which explains the increased hunger that often isn’t satiated after eating a meal.

Blurry Vision

Blurred vision is a common symptom of type 2 diabetes and can lead to vision issues and even blindness if left untreated. High glucose levels damage blood vessels and restrict fluid flow to the eyes. Regular eye exams are important for people with diabetes.

Itchy, Dry Skin

Type 2 diabetes can affect the skin, including causing dehydrated, flaky, itchy, and irritated skin. This is because diabetes affects blood circulation, and the sweat glands become dysfunctional. Skin issues are often the first sign of diabetes and can be prevented and cleared up if caught early.

Unexplained Fatigue

Fatigue is a prevalent symptom of type 2 diabetes. When blood glucose is high, the blood becomes thick and decreases circulation, preventing transport of vital nutrients and oxygen to cells. Many people with type 2 diabetes also experience extreme exhaustion due to inflammation of the blood vessels.

Unquenchable Thirst

Type 2 diabetes can cause an unquenchable thirst due to increased urination and dehydration. High blood sugar levels can also cause dry mouth, dehydration, and increased thirst.

Slow Healing Cuts or Bruises

Slow healing cuts or bruises can indicate an underlying health issue, such as undiagnosed diabetes. High blood glucose levels weaken the immune system and slow the rate of healing.

Irritated Gums

Type 2 diabetes sufferers may notice that their gums become red, swollen, and irritated. Gum disease and diabetes can feed off each other, causing more severe forms of each condition.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a common symptom of type 2 diabetes, and high blood sugar levels are believed to be one of the causes. Symptoms include a reduced amount of saliva, a rough, dry tongue, cracked and chapped lips, and difficulty with swallowing, talking, or chewing.

Frequent Yeast Infections

Frequent yeast infections in women can indicate type 2 diabetes, especially if their blood sugar levels

Dark Patches of Skin

Dark patches of skin on the neck, armpits, elbows, and knees due to high levels of glucose hormone and rapid skin cell reproduction.

Erectile Dysfunction

Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection due to elevated glucose levels damaging circulatory and nervous systems and blood vessels.

Frequent or Recurring Infections

Frequent bladder and foot infections due to elevated glucose levels and damage to skin, blood vessels, and nerves.

Nerve Damage

Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands and feet due to diabetic neuropathy caused by high blood sugar levels.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis due to the body unable to produce enough insulin, causing symptoms such as excessive thirst, nausea, stomach pain, shortness of breath, high blood sugar level, and high ketone levels in urine.

Know When To Seek Help

Type 2 diabetes affects millions of people in the U.S. and can cause a range of symptoms that range from numbness, frequent urination, weight loss, increased appetite, blurred vision, itchy skin, fatigue, unquenchable thirst, and more.

It is important to be aware of these symptoms and consult with a doctor if they persist. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels and early treatment can prevent the progression of diabetes and its complications.