Diabetes is a disease that affects your body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin, resulting in high blood sugar. The first symptoms can be so subtle that some people might brush them off as insignificant. If left untreated, diabetes can not only decrease the quality of life but also reduce life expectancy, which is why it is so crucial to diagnose the disease early.
1. Increased thirst and urination
Increased thirst (polydipsia) and frequent urination (polyuria) are the most common symptoms of diabetes. When you have diabetes, your kidneys can’t absorb all the excess sugar. Instead, it ends up in your urine, taking along fluids from your tissues. This makes you pee more and leaves you feeling dehydrated. To quench your thirst, you start drinking more, which leads to even more frequent urination.
The average person urinates 6–7 times a day. Anywhere between 4 and 10 times a day is also normal if the person is healthy and the number of bathroom breaks hasn’t changed.
2. Increased hunger
Excessive hunger (polyphagia), together with the increased thirst and urination mentioned above, make up the 3 major signs of diabetes. If your body doesn’t produce enough (or any) insulin or if it doesn’t respond to it the normal way, it can’t convert food into the glucose that your cells use for energy. And that causes increased hunger that doesn’t go away after eating. In fact, eating only makes the blood sugar even higher.
If you keep eating but your hunger persists, you may need to consult your physician, even if you seemingly don’t have any other symptoms of diabetes.