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According to the CDC, over 7 million US adults are living with diabetes or prediabetes that they don’t know they have.
Diabetes can develop with seemingly no warning, and some of the signs of diabetes in women can be particularly subtle. And without proper treatment, the disease can pose severe health risks for them.
Whether you have a genetic predisposition or not, it’s crucial to know the signs and symptoms in order to detect the disease early. Here are five signs of diabetes that every woman should know.
1. More Frequent Bathroom Breaks
One of the most well-known signs of type 2 diabetes is that it makes your body less efficient at processing blood sugar. Because of this, there’s more sugar sitting in your bloodstream—and your body gets rid of it by flushing it out through your urine.
Women sometimes aren’t aware of how frequently they take bathroom breaks, making this one of the more subtle warning signs of diabetes in women. A common red flag is when you’re often woken at night by the sudden urge to pee, or drinking much more often to keep up with your urination.
2. Pain or Tingling in Your Feet
The higher blood sugar caused by diabetes can cause a number of health issues before you even realize you have it. This includes nerve damage, or diabetic neuropathy, which in turn can cause painful, cramping, or tingling sensations in different parts of your body.
This can sometimes manifest itself subtly in your feet, as diabetes and feet can be strongly correlated. If your diabetes goes undiagnosed, you might find yourself requiring attention for a diabetic foot ulcer or other related health issue.
3. Vision Changes
While diabetic retinopathy is always a concern for diabetic patients, early vision changes are more likely to have a less damaging cause. These vision changes might simply be the result of fluid in the lenses transferring back and forth to maintain equal glucose levels with the rest of the body.
Fortunately, once you begin receiving treatment, these vision changes decrease once your eyes grow accustomed to your new, stabilized blood sugar levels.
4. Frequent Infections
Your higher blood sugar levels can wreak havoc in your vagina, which requires a delicate balance of naturally occurring bacteria to remain healthy. As a result, diabetics are more prone to urinary tract infections as well as yeast infections. Recurring infections are of particular concern, as it might be a sign that diabetes has weakened your immune system to make you more susceptible to yeast infections.
5. Weight Loss
We often associate diabetes with weight gain and obesity, so sudden weight loss is a sneaky symptom.
When your body can’t produce or use its own insulin properly, your cells may not have enough blood sugar to burn as energy. The result is that your body burns fat and muscle to compensate, leading to weight loss without trying.
The Takeaway: Know the Signs of Diabetes in Women
If you’re at risk, it’s crucial that you know the warning signs of diabetes in women—even the sneaky or subtle ones. Noticing any of these symptoms on an ongoing basis should be a red flag. Talk with your doctor to be tested as necessary, and check out our other blog posts for the medical tips and info you need to keep healthy.