Signs You Are at Risk for Developing Type 2 Diabetes

By Heena Sehgal
Medically Reviewed by:

Melinda Hany, Registered Nurse

Signs You Are at Risk for Developing Type 2 Diabetes

February 07, 2024

Type 1 diabetes was previously known as juvenile diabetes, as it’s most commonly diagnosed in people under 20. However, type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, although it is far more uncommon than type 2 diabetes

With type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune response in the body causes the pancreas to destroy its own beta cells (insulin-producing cells that let blood sugar inside the body, where it can be used for energy) This causes the body to make less insulin, or even stop making insulin entirely. 

Type 2 diabetes involves slightly different factors With type 2 diabetes, the body develops resistance to insulin which causes it not to be able to use glucose as effectively.

Some health issues are considered risk factors to type 2 diabetes:

  • Prediabetes
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • High blood pressure, even if it's treated and under control
  • Low HDL ("good") cholesterol
  • High triglycerides
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Having gestational diabetes while you were pregnant
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition with dark rashes around neck or armpits
  • Depression

Other risk factors WITHIN your control are:

  • Getting little to no exercise
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • A diet high in carbohydrates or processed sugars

Signs you may already be at risk for type 2 diabetes:

Your urine smells fruity or sweet

Urine should have a faint or non-existent odor, so if you notice a fruity scent this could be a bad sign and you should go to the doctor. 

You're still very hungry even after eating

Feeling hunger after a meal has to do with how the body processes food. A healthy body uses insulin to converts the glucose into food energy. The lack of insulin in diabetics makes the body feel tired and hungry even after a meal.

You get frequent infections

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Diabetics have a harder time fighting off infections because high blood sugar levels can actually slow the healing process. Areas that are getting infected include bladder, vagina, feet, kidneys, skin, and gums.
If you feel like you’re coming down with some infections or not quickly healing from any small cuts or scrapes, contact your doctor straight away.

“Frequent yeast infections are especially tied to diabetes,” notes Melinda Hany, Registered Nurse. 

You're constantly running to the bathroom especially at night

Frequent urination can be especially noticeable at night if you find yourself waking up constantly to go to the bathroom. This may be caused by things such as urinary tract infections and pregnancy, it’s important to talk to your doctor to rule out other conditions.

You have numbness or tingling in your hands and feet

Numbness in hands and feet is a result of diabetic neuropathy, a condition that can arise when chronic high blood sugar damages the nerves that send signals to your limbs.

This sensation affects roughly 50% of type 2 diabetics, and if it progresses even the lightest touches cause pain.

Your nether regions are frequently itchy

Poor circulation can result in some itching, dry skin, or yeast infections. This discomfort in your genital area can be a symptom of diabetes.

High blood sugar levels make it harder for the body to fight off some of the infections (like yeast)

Your vision is blurry

“Blurry vision can be a common symptom of diabetes, due to how diabetes impacts the small blood vessels of the eyes,” notes Hany.

You often feel very thirsty

Blood sugar creates an increase in urination, which can lead to dehydration if you’re not taking in adequate fluids.

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