Of the more than 30 million Americans who have diabetes, up to 95 percent have type 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This chronic condition affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose): According to the Mayo Clinic, “your body either resists the effects of insulin—a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells—or doesn’t produce enough insulin.” So, how can you tell if your body is suffering from type 2 diabetes? To help you know the warning signs, we’ve rounded up some of the subtle type 2 diabetes symptoms to be aware of, according to doctors and researchers. If you suspect something is off with your blood sugar levels, it’s time to get checked out!
After all, maintenance, management, and medication are all essential when it comes to type 2 diabetes; if left untreated, it can lead to everything from heart disease to kidney damage, and these effects are irreversible. Obviously, early detection is crucial and armed with this knowledge, you’ll know what to look out for!
Do you find yourself reaching for the salt and hot sauce more than usual nowadays? Believe it or not, this could be a sign that your body is resisting the effects of insulin. “Seventy percent of people with diabetes have subtle dysfunctions in smell and taste,” notes Meg McElroy, MS, PA-C, a certified physician assistant and co-founder of the Center for Collaborative Medicine in Austin, Texas. “The need for more salt, sugar, or spices on food can be a sign.”
Since this diabetes symptom can also be indicative of Alzheimer’s and nutrient deficiencies, McElroy suggests talking to a health care practitioner to determine the cause of your loss of taste.
Don’t immediately assume that vision issues warrant a trip to the optometrist. According to practicing physician Nikola Djordjevic, MD, co-founder of LoudCloudHealth, when diabetes is left unmanaged, it can have an impact on your eyesight.
Specifically, some of the eye problems that can be caused by diabetes include swelling of the eye lenses, weakened blood vessels, and damage to the retina, according to health care provider Kaiser Permanente. “Undiagnosed diabetes can permanently affect your vision, so it’s critically important to catch it in its early stages before it’s too late,” Djordjevic says.
“The formation of skin tags (called fibroepithelial papillomas) is connected to insulin resistance and people with diabetes are far more likely to develop them,” notes Kelly Bay, DC, CNS, CDN, a New York-based certified dietitian, nutrition specialist, and functional medicine specialist. These skin tags can also indicate other issues like Rabson-Mendenhall syndrome, though, so make sure you get them checked out by a dermatologist.