Diabetes is a serious and typically lifelong condition which causes your blood sugar levels to become too high. While it is not known exactly what causes type 1 diabetes, among type 2 patients this is often linked to factors such as being overweight and not exercising enough. However, it can also run in families.

More than four million people in the UK are currently living with diabetes.

But according to Diabetes UK, 1.2 million people could be living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.

As with any condition or illness the sooner you spot the symptoms of diabetes, the sooner you can seek medical help.

With this in mind, Doctor Donald Grant, GP and senior clinical advisor at The Independent Pharmacy, shared some common health indicators that you may be suffering from diabetes.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “Understanding whether you have diabetes early is crucial for preventing further health complications.

“It’s also important for monitoring health generally and ensuring a better quality of life for sufferers.

“Unfortunately, diabetes can be extremely difficult to detect and is often left untreated until a further health complication makes the condition known.

“Being able to identify potential symptoms is an effective way of spotting the condition early, however, many people are unsure of what signs to look out for. Therefore, let’s take a look at the most common health indicators of diabetes.”

The four symptoms are:

  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Sudden dramatic weight loss
  • Increased appetite or thirst.

Frequent urination

Going to the toilet too much, also known as polyuria, can be a sign of diabetes.

Dr Grant said: “This can occur when the body attempts to get rid of excess glucose through urination, being awoken multiple times throughout the evening is a common symptom that you may have developed the condition.

“However, this can also occur due to specific medications, pregnancy or high caffeine intake – therefore it’s best to seek professional advice rather than self-diagnosing the condition.

Blurry vision

According to Dr Grant, experiencing changes to your vision such as blurriness or distortion might not necessarily mean you need a new pair of glasses – but instead could be a sign that you’re suffering from diabetes.

He continued: “The condition often has significant effects on the eyes, leading to complications such as diabetic retinopathy, where high blood sugar levels damage the retina’s blood vessels.

“Sadly, that’s just one of the many ways diabetes can harm eye health, with conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts and dry eye syndrome also potential consequences of diabetes.

Sudden dramatic weight loss

A substantial drop in weight could be a sign of either type of diabetes.

“For type 1 diabetes, the body attacks insulin-producing cells, leading to the body breaking down fat and muscle as an alternative energy source,” Dr Grant explained.

“For type 2 diabetes, the body becomes increasingly resistant to the effects of insulin, which, similar to type 1, leads to fat and muscle being targeted instead.

“Additionally, the increased urination leads to fluid loss which can contribute to weight loss. Overall, it’s important to seek medical advice should you experience a sudden decrease in weight for any reason as it can lead to further health issues.

Increased appetite or thirst

Dr Grant said: “A desire to drink more frequently can be down to an increase in toilet activity – leaving the body with lost fluids to replace.

“For hunger, insulin complications mean the glucose from consumed foods cannot be converted into energy.

“As a result, the body experiences increased levels of appetite as it needs to ingest more food to compensate for the lack of converted energy.”

Other symptoms of diabetes

“Aside from the more common indicators that you may be suffering from diabetes, it can also be hidden behind other health complications such as erectile dysfunction, yeast infections or intense headaches,” he added.

“These common health issues make diabetes extremely hard to detect in some cases, therefore, I recommend seeking professional advice should you suffer from any symptoms of the condition.”

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