“It’s not like you wake up one day and all of a sudden you’re thirsty, hungry, and [going to the bathroom] all the time,” says Melissa Joy Dobbins, RD, a certified diabetes educator in Chicago, Illinois and a spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
“It picks up gradually.” Indeed, “most people are unaware that they have [type 2] diabetes in its early or even middle phases,” says Aaron Cypess, MD, PhD, investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. And just because you’re unaware of the disease, it doesn’t mean you’re immune to the issues that are associated with it.
The more you ignore this common condition, the greater the risk of diabetes-related complications you’ll have. Some diabetes-related issues include cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, amputation, gastroparesis, low testosterone levels, vision loss, and nerve damage.
“We recommend that people with risk factors for diabetes, such as a family history or being overweight, get evaluated on a regular basis,” Dr. Cypess says. If you’ve been feeling off or not like your usual self, talk to your doctor immediately about getting a simple blood test that can easily diagnose the disease. And, of course, keep an eye on the following symptoms.