9 Warning Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar levels.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for about 90% of cases. (1)

People with type 2 diabetes often don’t know they have it because early symptoms can be mild.

But over time, high blood sugar levels can damage organs and lead to health problems.

There are several signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes, and some people may experience all of them, while others may only experience a few.

The most common warning signs and symptoms include:

1. Increased thirst

Excessive thirst (polydipsia) is one of the earliest signs of type 2 diabetes.


When your blood sugar is high, it causes your body to draw water from your tissues to dilute the glucose.

This increases urination, which can lead to dehydration.

Dehydration makes you feel thirsty.

As you drink more fluids to quench your thirst, you’ll urinate even more. (2)

Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

2. Frequent urination

Frequent urination (polyuria) is another early warning symptom of type 2 diabetes.

Polyuria occurs when your body tries to get rid of excess blood sugar through urine.

When blood sugar levels are high, the kidneys must work harder to filter it all out.

This can lead to an increase in urination.

In most cases, polyuria happens during the night, which can cause you to wake up several times to urinate. (3)

3. Fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom of type 2 diabetes.

This is referred to as diabetes fatigue.

Generally speaking, this is caused by high blood sugar levels.

When your body can’t properly process glucose, it leads to a build-up of sugar in the bloodstream.

This can lead to fatigue, as your body isn’t able to get the energy it needs from glucose. (4)

In other words, you may feel tired because your body isn’t able to metabolize glucose effectively.

4. Blurred vision

High blood sugar levels can cause blurred vision.

Sugar can attach to proteins in the lens of your eye and change their shape.

This alters the way light passes through the lens, which can result in blurred vision.

In most cases, blurred vision is temporary and will go away once blood sugar levels are back to normal. (5)

5. Slow-healing cuts and bruises

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body has trouble using sugar for energy, so it starts to break down other tissues for energy.

This includes the collagen in your skin.

As a result, you may heal more slowly from cuts and bruises.

Also, high levels of sugar in the blood can damage small blood vessels, which can lead to poor blood circulation.

This can further delay the healing process. (6)

6. Frequent infections

Type 2 diabetes can weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off infections.

This makes you more susceptible to infections, such as yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and skin infections. (7)

An obvious example of this is thrush, which is a yeast infection that commonly occurs in people with type 2 diabetes.

For those who don’t know, thrush is an infection caused by the Candida albicans fungus.

This fungus commonly grows in the mouth, throat, and genital area.

Symptoms of thrush include white patches on the tongue or inside the cheek, as well as redness and soreness. (8)

7. Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

Nerve damage is a common complication of type 2 diabetes.

This is caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the walls of the tiny blood vessels that nourish your nerves.

This type of damage is called diabetic neuropathy.

The most common symptom of diabetic neuropathy is numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.

Other symptoms include pain, weakness, and loss of feeling. (9)

8. Always feeling hungry

People with diabetes often feel very hungry (Polyphagia) because their bodies cannot efficiently use the sugar in their bloodstream for energy.

Basically, regardless of how much sugar is in your system, your cells are not able to utilize it properly.

As a result, you may feel hungry even if you have just eaten a meal. (10)

Read more: 10 Reasons You’re Still Hungry After Eating

9. Patches of dark skin

In type 2 diabetes, high levels of sugar in your blood can cause changes in the small blood vessels in your skin.

These changes can show up as dots, blotches, or patches that are darker than the surrounding skin.

The changes usually occur on the neck, armpits, groin, or skin folds.

Medically speaking, this is called acanthosis nigricans. (11, 12)

Final thoughts

Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to a number of health complications.

The early signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, slow wound healing, frequent infections, and increased hunger.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor so that you can be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

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