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How You Know If You Have Diabetes


What If I Have Trouble Getting To My Blood Sugar Goals

Diabetes Tips : How to Tell If You Have Diabetes

There may be times when you have trouble reaching your blood sugar goals. This does not mean that you have failed. It means that you and your health care team should see if changes are needed. Call your health care team if your blood sugar is often too high or too low. Taking action will help you be healthy today and in the future.

How Can You Lower Your Blood Sugar Fast

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Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

Apart from a blood test, the best way to know if you have diabetes is to look out for the symptoms. For type 1 diabetes, the first thing you need to consider is age. If you are a younger person, then you are more likely to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. However, type 1 diabetes only accounts for up to 10% of diabetes patients, the rest being type 2 and other diabetic conditions.

The symptoms are also clearer in children and they can appear rather suddenly. This doesn’t mean the condition has appeared suddenly. It’s possible to have type 1 diabetes for some time before feeling the adverse effects. This is why yearly blood tests are recommended for those with an increased predisposition of diabetes. This includes those with a close relative who may have the same condition or having other autoimmune issues.

The symptoms to look out for in type 1 diabetes include:


  • Excessive urination
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased thirst
  • Short rapid breaths
  • Vomiting
  • Blurry vision

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How To Check Your Blood Sugar Levels

As Dr. Emanuele says, glucose monitoring can be an important tool to help you get your blood sugar under control. Typically, you would do it yourself using a glucose meter or glucometer, which analyzes a drop of blood that you draw by sticking your finger with a lancet and placing the blood on a disposable test strip that you insert into the meter. Your blood sugar goals are set by you and your doctor, but blood glucose for an adult without diabetes is below 100 mg/dl before meals and at fasting and less than 140 mg/dl two hours after a meal, notes the ADA.

Some people will check their blood sugar daily or multiple times a day, sometimes using a continuous monitor that is worn on the body particularly those who have type 1 diabetes or who have type 2 but take insulin. Yet how frequently a person should monitor their blood sugar is based on a number of factors, including but not limited to whether theyre on insulin, whether they’re taking oral medication, and how well their blood sugar is controlled and how old they are.

Meanwhile, keep an eye out for these nine key warning signs and symptoms that blood sugar is too high and talk to your doctor about whether you need to adjust your management plan.

If Symptoms Are Present Now What

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You see, most of the symptoms of diabetes are things that pretty much happen to almost everyone from time to time. If symptoms keep appearing it is important to not ignore them. Ignoring the symptoms is not doing you a favour.


How do you know if you actually have diabetes? The answer is simply to be vigilant and aware of whats going on in your body. Whenever in doubt you should talk to your personal doctor.

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What Food Can Lower Blood Sugar

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Who Is At Risk

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition and as yet the triggers for this condition are unknown. However, type 2 diabetes has a number of risk factors, including being overweight or obese, living a sedentary lifestyle, or eating an unhealthy, high-calorie diet. “With type 2 diabetes your body’s still producing at least some insulin but you can’t respond to it – you’ve lost that sensitivity.”

“If the system gets overworked – eating the wrong things, eating too frequently, too much – the system gets worn out and we lose the sensitivity to it,” explains Dr Jenna Macciochi, Doctor of Immunology at the University of Sussex.

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You Feel Shaky And Hungry

Its not uncommon for patients to suddenly feel unsteady and immediately need to reach for carbs, says Marjorie Cypress, a nurse practitioner at an endocrinology clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and 2014 president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association. When you have high blood sugar, your body has a problem regulating its glucose, she explains. If youve eaten something high in carbohydrates, your body shoots out a little too much insulin, and your glucose drops quickly. This makes you feel shaky, and you tend to crave carbs or sugar. This can lead to a vicious cycle.


Check out these sneaky things that raise your blood sugar levels.

Symptoms Of Type 1 Diabetes Onset In An Infant Or Child

How can you tell if you have diabetes? Early signs

The young child who is urinating frequently, drinking large quantities, losing weight, and becoming more and more tired and ill is the classic picture of a child with new-onset type 1 diabetes. If a child who is potty-trained and dry at night starts having accidents and wetting the bed again, diabetes might be the culprit.

Although it is easy to make the diagnosis diabetes in a child by checking blood sugar at the doctors office or emergency room, the tricky part is recognizing the symptoms and knowing to take the child to get checked. Raising the awareness that young children, including infants, can get type 1 diabetes can help parents know when to check for type 1 diabetes.

Sometimes children can be in diabetic ketoacidosis when they are diagnosed with diabetes. When there is a lack of insulin in the body, the body can build up high levels of an acid called ketones. DKA is a medical emergency that usually requires hospitalization and immediate care with insulin and IV fluids. After diagnosis and early in treatment, some children may go through a phase where they seem to be making enough insulin again. This is commonly called the honeymoon phase. It may seem like diabetes has been cured, but over time they will require appropriate doses of insulin to keep their blood sugar levels in the normal range.

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You Get Enough Sleep But You’re Still So Tired

Carbohydrates, which your body breaks down into glucose, are your bodys main source of energy. But your body cant effectively use that source of energy when you have diabetes, explains Goundan.

Of course, there are tons of other reasons you could be feeling exhausted, including your diet, stress levels, and how much youve been sleeping.

Still, if you can’t think of any other good reason for your extreme fatigue, and your low energy levels are accompanied by some of these other diabetes symptoms, its worth getting checked out.

You Never Stop Drinking Water

With all that peeing, dehydration is a very real possibility. And, to make matters worse, some patients who dont know they have diabetes quench their thirst with sugary drinks like soda or juice, which adds to their blood sugars, Goundan says. Signs of dehydration include dark-colored urine, a drop in weight, and extreme thirst.

Sound familiar? Talk to your doc about this potential symptom of diabetes, especially if it occurs in tandem with lots of bathroom breaks.


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How Do I Check My Blood Sugar

You use a blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar. This device uses a small drop of blood from your finger to measure your blood sugar level. You can get the meter and supplies in a drug store or by mail.

Read the directions that come with your meter to learn how to check your blood sugar. Your health care team also can show you how to use your meter. Write the date, time, and result of the test in your blood sugar record. Take your blood sugar record and meter to each visit and talk about your results with your health care team.

You Feel Really Itchy All The Time

Diabetes: How to spot the signs before it

Those with diabtetes often experience itching due to yeast infections , dry skin, or poor circulation, according to the American Diabetes Association. If poor circulation is to blame, your legs will be the itchiest area.

Per the ADA, you can try to treat the itching yourself by limiting how much you bathe , using soap with a built-in moisturizer, and remembering to apply lotion immediately after washing up.


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You Feel Tiredness And Fatigue Constantly

Fatigue and extreme tiredness are symptoms of uncontrolled blood sugar, the ADA says. Simply put, when your body is not processing insulin properly or it doesnt have sufficient amounts of insulin, the sugar is staying in our blood rather than getting into our cells to be used for energy, Zanini says. Also, frequent urination can lead to dehydration, which Bandukwala identifies as another contributing factor to fatigue.

Symptoms Of Type 1 Diabetes

You might notice:

  • Unplanned weight loss. If your body can’t get energy from your food, it will start burning muscle and fat for energy instead. You may lose weight even though you haven’t changed how you eat. See which foods are high in trans fatty acids.
  • Nausea and vomiting. When your body resorts to burning fat, it makes ketones. These can build up in your blood to dangerous levels, a possibly life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketones can make you feel sick to your stomach.

Also Check: Craving Milk Type 2 Diabetes

Yellowish Scaly Patches On And Around Your Eyelids

These develop when you have high fat levels in your blood. It can also be a sign that your diabetes is poorly controlled.The medical name for this condition is xanthelasma.


Take action
  • Tell your doctor about the yellowish scaly patches around your eyes.
  • Talk with your doctor about how to better control your diabetes. Controlling diabetes can clear the scaly patches.

How Is Diabetes Diagnosed

Diabetes Symptoms & Treatments : How to Know If You Have Diabetes

Many people get tested for diabetes because they develop symptoms that are potential early warning signs.

For example, people with type 1 diabetes may experience unintentional weight loss or develop flu-like symptoms. People with type 2 diabetes may experience extreme thirst or frequent urination.

You may experience one or more of the warning signs associated with diabetes. If you do, its important to contact your doctor for an appointment.

You may also discover a diabetes diagnosis after visiting your doctor for another condition or for routine blood work.

If you make an appointment with your doctor due to diabetes warning signs, they will want to know:


  • your symptoms

Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and will likely run some blood tests.

There are several tests that can diagnose diabetes. These include:

  • A1C: This test shows what your blood glucose level has averaged for the last 2 or 3 months. This does not require you to fast or drink anything.
  • Fasting plasma glucose : You will need to fast for at least 8 hours before this test is done.
  • Oral glucose tolerance : This test takes 2 to 3 hours. Your blood glucose levels are tested initially and then repeated at intervals for 2 hours after youve consumed a specific sweet drink.
  • Random plasma glucose test: You can have this test done any time and do not need to be fasting.

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Early Signs Of Diabetes

Both types of diabetes have some of the same telltale warning signs.

  • Hunger and fatigue. Your body converts the food you eat into glucose that your cells use for energy. But your cells need insulin to take in glucose. If your body doesn’t make enough or any insulin, or if your cells resist the insulin your body makes, the glucose can’t get into them and you have no energy. This can make you hungrier and more tired than usual.
  • Peeing more often and being thirstier. The average person usually has to pee between four and seven times in 24 hours, but people with diabetes may go a lot more. Why? Normally, your body reabsorbs glucose as it passes through your kidneys. But when diabetes pushes your blood sugar up, your kidneys may not be able to bring it all back in. This causes the body to make more urine, and that takes fluids. The result: You’ll have to go more often. You might pee out more, too. Because you’re peeing so much, you can get very thirsty. When you drink more, you’ll also pee more.
  • Dry mouth and itchy skin. Because your body is using fluids to make pee, there’s less moisture for other things. You could get dehydrated, and your mouth may feel dry. Dry skin can make you itchy.
  • Blurred vision. Changing fluid levels in your body could make the lenses in your eyes swell up. They change shape and canââ¬â¢t focus.

When To See A Dermatologist

Diabetes can cause many other skin problems. Most skin problems are harmless, but even a minor one can become serious in people who have diabetes. A board-certified dermatologist can recognize skin problems due to diabetes and help you manage them.


Are all dermatologists board certified?

No. See what it takes to become board certified.

ImagesImage 1: Image Courtesy of Clark C. Otley, MD. All Rights Reserved

Images 3, 7, 8, 9: Used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

Image 2 from DermNetNZ

Some images used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology


ReferencesCohen Sabban, EN. Cutaneous manifestations of diabetes mellitus from A to Z. Focus session presented at: 74th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology March 4-8, 2016 Washington D.C.

Duff M, Demidova O, et al. Cutaneous manifestations of diabetes mellitus. Clinical Diabetes. 2015 33:40-8.

Kalus AA, Chien AJ, et al. Diabetes mellitus and other endocrine disorders. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine . McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008:1461-70.

McKinley-Grant L, Warnick M, et al. Cutaneous manifestations of systemic disease. In: Kelly AP and Taylor S. Dermatology for Skin of Color. . The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. China, 2009:481-4.

Morgan AJ and Schwartz RA. Diabetic dermopathy: A subtle sign with grave implications. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 58:447-51.

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Being Extra Thirsty And Having To Urinate More Than Usual

This is a common but not-so-obvious sign of blood sugar that is too high: feeling really thirsty and needing to drink more than usual. Excessive urination, known as polyuria, occurs when glucose builds up in your blood, and your kidneys begin working harder to get rid of the extra glucose, says Zanini. If your kidneys cant keep up and adjust blood sugar so that it returns to a normal level, the excess sugar is flushed out of your body through urine, she adds. You may become dehydrated and get dizzy.

Overweight Obesity And Physical Inactivity

How Do U Know If You Have Type 2 Diabetes

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are not physically active and are overweight or obese. Extra weight sometimes causes insulin resistance and is common in people with type 2 diabetes. The location of body fat also makes a difference. Extra belly fat is linked to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart and blood vessel disease. To see if your weight puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes, check out these Body Mass Index charts.

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