17 Warning Signs You May Have Diabetes

If you develop diabetes, it will seriously affect your life and lifestyle. And for many people who are diagnosed with diabetes, it continues to affect them for the rest of their lives.

The good news is that if you understand the warning signs of diabetes, you may be able to take control of your health early on. The bad news is that most people don’t understand what these warning signs are or what they mean.

Want to live a safer and healthier life? Keep reading to learn about the major warning signs of diabetes.

The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Our guide will touch on warning signs for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Before we go any further, though, it’s important to explain the difference between different diabetes types.

If you have type 1 diabetes, it means that your body does not produce the insulin it needs. And if you have type 2 diabetes, it means that your body doesn’t respond to insulin like it should. As this diabetes progresses, you may also have difficulty producing insulin.

Below, we have a guide to symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Generally speaking, type 1 symptoms develop sooner (in as little as a few weeks) and type 2 symptoms develop later (sometimes over several years).

If you are worried about possibly having diabetes, we recommend consulting with your primary physician right away. Especially if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms.

Warning Signs You May Have Diabetes

1. Serious thirst

Feeling extremely thirsty is a sign of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It is common that you will still feel thirsty even after drinking plenty of water.

RELATED: 10 Signs You May Have Cancer

2. Frequent urination

Another major warning sign is frequent urination. This is tied to your blood sugar levels and may be a symptom of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. If you find yourself going to the bathroom more than usual, especially at night, then take this warning sign seriously.

3. Feeling nerve numbness or pain

Nerve pain and feelings of numbness can be a major sign of type 2 diabetes. This feeling (which may feel like mild tingling) can be a sign of nerve damage. Because this symptom typically takes years to manifest, you’ll probably notice other warning signs before you notice this one.

4. Major hunger

One of the more unexpected signs of type 2 diabetes if a feeling of extreme hunger. Also known as polyphagia, this may be caused by your body’s inability to absorb glucose as a much-needed fuel.

5. Blurry vision

If your vision goes unexpectedly blurry, this can be a sign of type 2 diabetes. If your blood sugar levels suddenly spike, it causes the blood vessels in your eyes to leak fluid that blurs your vision. And if your diabetes goes untreated long enough, you could develop diabetic retinopathy and even go blind.

RELATED: 8 Warnings Signs Your Hair Reveals About Your Health

6. Wounds lasting a long time

Sometimes, you may not know you have type 2 diabetes until you are injured. Specifically, you may not know until your wounds are taking too long to heal. This can be a sign that high blood sugar is narrowing your blood vessels, keeping nutrients and oxygen from circulating to wounds in a timely manner.

7. Frequent infections

If you have developed a bacterial, fungal, or yeast infection, this is not in itself a warning sign of type 2 diabetes. But if you keep getting infections, it may be a warning sign that your blood sugar levels or other diabetes side effects are making it easier for your body to get infected.

8. Patches of dark skin

Some warning signs of type 2 diabetes are more obvious than others. For example, the extra insulin in your blood can lead to darker patches of discolored skin. While this may manifest anywhere on your body, it is likeliest to happen around your armpits, groin, and neck.

9. Itchy skin

Any number of things can cause your skin to feel itchy. But if this is happening very frequently, it may be because of type 2 diabetes. Why is this? It could be due to dry skin, bad circulation, certain infections, or any number of other diabetes side effects.

RELATED: What Does It Mean If Your Left Hand Itches?

10. Dry mouth

Science hasn’t figured out all the answers when it comes to type 2 diabetes. For example, dry mouth is a very common symptom, but nobody is sure exactly why this is. It most likely has to do with your heightened blood sugar. If you have dry mouth lasting longer than usual, you should take it very seriously.

11. Accidental weight loss

Most of us dream of suddenly and unexpectedly losing weight. But if that should actually happen, it may mean you have type 2 diabetes. This is because the extra glucose flowing through your body will start coming out in your urine. And this can cause weight loss even as you are eating and drinking more to satisfy increased hunger and thirst.

12. Major fatigue

Major fatigue is another warning sign of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Like dry mouth, researchers aren’t exactly sure why diabetes leads to fatigue. With type 2 diabetes, it could be because of your body not always getting enough glucose. But the fatigue could be a side effect of other symptoms like dehydration and fluctuating diet. 

13. Feeling irritable

Obviously, there are any number of things that could cause you to feel unexpectedly irritable. But sudden irritability can be a warning sign of type 2 diabetes. This is because of changes in your blood sugar level that can cause you to cycle through feeling normal, irritable, anxious, and scared.

RELATED: The 7 Main COVID-19 Symptoms You Need To Know

14. Nausea and vomiting

One of the unexpected warning signs of type 1 diabetes is nausea and vomiting. These symptoms occur because your body is burning fat and producing ketones. The ketones alone can make you feel sick, and if they build up, it can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis.

15. Mood swings

Earlier, we discussed how irritability may be a warning sign of type 2 diabetes. On a related note, unexpected and intense mood changes can be a sign of type 1 diabetes. If you find yourself cycling from extreme depression to states of manic hyperactivity, this is a serious warning sign.

16. Fruity odor on breath

Remember when we talked about type 1 diabetes leading to nausea and vomiting because of the ketones your body produces? Those same ketones may also cause your breath to smell sweet or fruity. If you or someone else notices this unexpected smell from your mouth, you may want to go see your doctor.

RELATED: 3 Signs You Might Have A Thyroid Problem

17. Prediabetes

If you get to the doctor quick enough, they may diagnose you with prediabetes. This very on-the-nose name means you have a condition that is likely to lead to type 2 diabetes. This condition means that you have very high blood sugar levels, but not high enough for the doctor to make an official diabetes diagnostic.