Diabetes Risk Factors and Symptoms

Risk Factors
Early stages of diabetes have few symptoms. If left untreated, however, diabetes can cause serious damage that can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and limb amputation. Fortunately, when detected and treated early, diabetes can be controlled.
Take this brief quiz to help determine if you are at risk for diabetes:
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you lead a sedentary lifestyle?
  • Are you over the age of 45?
  • Are you a woman who has delivered a baby weighing more than nine pounds at birth?
  • Are you black, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian-American?
  • Do you have a family history of diabetes?
  • Do you have high blood pressure?
  • Is your HDL cholesterol 50 or lower and/or is your triglyceride level 250 or higher?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, ask your doctor if you should be checked for diabetes.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of diabetes may vary significantly from patient to patient in both symptom type and severity. Diabetes often goes undiagnosed for years because many of its symptoms are subtle and may seem harmless. However, detecting diabetes early can lower the risk of developing serious complications later on.
The following are common signs and symptoms of diabetes, categorized by type of diabetes (type 1 or 2). Consult your physician if any of the following symptoms occur:
  • Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Increased fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Symptoms mentioned for type 1, plus:
  • Tingling or numbness in legs, feet or skin
  • Frequent skin infections or itchy skin
  • Slow healing of cuts and bruises
  • Frequent yeast infections