Person sitting on a toilet

Knowing what to look for is crucial as the first signs of diabetes can be very vague (Image: GETTY)

A doctor has warned that many people can have type 2 diabetes for years without realising it.

Dr Khalid, NHS GP and family doctor from London, explained that the early signs of the blood sugar condition can be “quite vague”, making symptom awareness front and centre.

Therefore, the medical expert took to his YouTube channel to outline the “seven signs that your body gives you to tell you that your sugar levels are too high”.

1. Unexplained weight loss 

Dr Khalid explained that “the very first sign to look out for” is unexplained weight loss or loss of muscle bulk.

Speaking in the video, he said: “You might be surprised by this because most people when they think about type 2 diabetes, they think about it as a condition to do with being overweight or obese.”

READ MORE Doctor recommends diet to ‘completely reverse’ type 2 diabetes

The doctor explained that weight loss is linked to insulin resistance, which means you can’t use blood sugar for energy, leaving your body looking for other sources like fat and muscles.

The doctor said: “As our blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas pumps out more and more of insulin to try and get the sugar levels into your cells. Over time, the cells stop responding to all of that insulin and they become insulin resistant.

“And because the sugar is high in your blood, but not actually inside your cells, you can’t use it for energy. Your body starts to break down fat and muscle to use for energy. This is why you may get unexplained weight loss.”

2. Peeing more frequently

Another tell-tale sign of type 2 diabetes, needing to pee more occurs when your body is trying to get rid of that extra sugar from your blood.

Person standing on the scales

Dr Khalid explained that “the very first sign to look out for” is unexplained weight loss (Image: GETTY)

Dr Khalid explained that the levels of sugar in the blood are abnormally high in diabetics, so lots of sugar ends up sitting in your urine. “This draws water out of your body and into your urine, so you’re peeing more frequently,” he said.

3. Increased thirst

If you’re peeing more, you’re going to be thirstier and your brain is going to prompt you to get more “fluids on board” and tell you to drink more to balance things out.

“If you’re peeing more and you’re more thirsty, then you definitely need to get your blood sugar levels checked to make sure you’re not diabetic,” Dr Khalid said.

4. Blurred vision or visual problems

When your blood sugar levels are too high, this can impact the lens in your eye and cause it to swell up, the doctor explained. This alteration can trigger blurry vision, ringing alarm bells.

Become an Express Premium member
  • Support fearless journalism
  • Read The Daily Express online, advert free
  • Get super-fast page loading

However, people who have had high blood sugar levels for many years can also develop something called diabetic retinopathy.

The doctor added: “Although this can take many, many years to develop, in the later stages, you could get blurred vision, you can get floaters, which are shapes that go across your vision, pains in your eye, redness in the eye, difficulty seeing in the dark and also at the very, very late stages, you can get sudden visual loss.”

5. Feeling very tired

The insulin resistance caused by persistently high blood sugar levels means your cells can’t easily take up blood sugar and make energy, leaving you with less energy, tired and fatigued.

6. Slow healing

Another warning sign to look out for are sores or injuries that take longer to heal. While this comes down to a few different things, one reason for longer healing is high sugar levels impacting the blood vessels in your body. 

Dr Khalid said: “This could lead to blood flow issues and circulation issues. Wounds need good blood flow, oxygen, [and] nutrients to heal quickly. So, if you have poor circulation, it’s going to take longer to heal.”

7. Recurrent itchy areas

The last symptoms that the doctor recommended being aware of is getting itchy around areas, including the groin, armpits, genitals and breasts. 

He said: “When you have high sugar levels, you’re more prone to fungal infections like thrush. They often grow in moist, damp areas. They are also more common in diabetics because high sugar levels create an overgrowth of them.

“In addition to this, high sugar levels over time could also weaken our immune system. This means that diabetic patients who are more prone to infections are less likely to fight them off due to a compromise in their immune system and poor circulation.”

If you experience any of these red flag signs, it’s “super important” to see your healthcare professional and get checked for diabetes, the doctor concluded.

You May Also Like

Popular food recalled with 'life-threatening' warning issued over 'undeclared ingredient'

A crab cake recall has raised concerns about an undeclared ingredient that…

'I'm a fitness expert – anyone can do this simple 10 minute exercise to blast belly fat'

Losing stubborn fat in the belly can be a real challenge, especially…

Tragic 'mermaid baby' is born with lower body fused together and no genitalia

A baby in Tanzania was born with its lower body fused together…

Expert reveals simple eye exercise to make you look 10 years younger

An expert has revealed a simple eye exercise that can make you…