Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that prevents your body from being able to properly use insulin. It’s the result of increased insulin resistance and your pancreas not making enough insulin to manage your blood sugar (glucose) levels.

About 1 in 10 Americans has diabetes, and type 2 diabetes represents 90 to 95 percent of those cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There are many symptoms of type 2 diabetes. It’s important to know what they are because the condition can be prevented or delayed if caught early.

Read on for the most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes vary from person to person. They can develop slowly over many years and might be so mild that you don’t notice them.

Frequent urination

Polyuria, or excessive urination, is one of the 3 P’s of diabetes.

Your kidneys eventually can’t keep up with the extra glucose in your bloodstream. Some of the glucose ends up in your urine and draws in more water. This leads to more frequent urination.

Adults naturally produce 1 to 2 liters of urine per day (a liter is about a quart). Polyuria is defined as more than 3 liters per day.

Extreme thirst

Excessive thirst, or polydipsia, is often a result of frequent urination. Your body urges you to replace lost fluids by making you feel thirsty.

Of course, everyone gets thirsty sometimes. Extreme thirst is uncharacteristic and persistent, no matter how often you replenish.

Increased hunger

Excessive hunger is called polyphagia.

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body has a hard time turning glucose into energy. This makes you feel hungry. Eating introduces even more sugar that can’t be processed, and it doesn’t alleviate the hunger.

Blurry vision

Diabetes increases your risk of several eye conditions, including:

The increased blood sugar from diabetes can damage blood vessels, including those in the eye, leading to blurry vision.


Fatigue can be a mental or physical tiredness that doesn’t improve with rest. There are many causes of fatigue.

It’s a difficult symptom to research, but a 2016 study concluded that people with type 2 diabetes may experience fatigue as a result of fluctuations between high and low glucose levels.

Slow-healing wounds

If you have type 2 diabetes, regular cuts and scratches can take longer to heal. Wounds on your feet are common and easy to overlook. Slow healing foot ulcers occur due to poor blood supply as well as damage to the nerves responsible for blood flow to the feet.

A 2020 study showed that diabetic foot ulcers don’t mobilize the immune cells needed for proper inflammation and healing.

Tingling, numbness and pain in the hands and feet

High glucose can damage the blood vessels that supply nutrients to your nerves. When your nerves don’t receive enough oxygen and nutrients, they cannot function properly.

This is called diabetic neuropathy and is most common in your extremities.

Unexplained weight loss

Insulin resistance causes glucose to build up in the bloodstream instead of being turned into energy. This can cause your body to consume other energy sources, like muscle or fat tissue.

Your weight might naturally fluctuate a little. An unexplained loss of at least 5 percent of your body weight is generally agreed as a need to talk with your healthcare professional.

Frequent infections

In addition to nerve damage and a weakened immune system, poor blood circulation also increases the chance of developing an infection in people with diabetes. Having more sugar in your blood and tissues allows infections to spread faster.

People with diabetes commonly develop infections of the:

Areas of darkened skin, such as the armpits or neck

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition that can be a symptom of diabetes. It appears as dark bands of skin that may have a velvety texture.

This is most common in body folds such as your armpits, neck, and groin, but can also occur elsewhere.

While the symptoms above can occur in anyone with type 2 diabetes, the following symptoms are specific to men, or individuals who are assigned male at birth:

Type 2 diabetes also may present with symptoms specific to women, such as:

  • UTIs are more common in women and are more common and severe in those with type 2 diabetes, according to a review of research published in 2015.
  • Elevated glucose levels allow yeast organisms to grow more easily, leading to a higher chance of infection.
  • Type 2 diabetes does not specifically make it more difficult to conceive, but polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can. Developing PCOS has been linked to insulin resistance, and PCOS has been shown to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC.

Prediabetes is a health condition where your blood sugar is higher than it’s supposed to be, but it’s not high enough for a doctor to diagnose you with type 2 diabetes.

More than 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes, many without knowing it. There are usually no symptoms of prediabetes, but there are steps you can take to help prevent developing it:

There are many symptoms that you may experience if you have type 2 diabetes. They can be subtle and might develop over a long time.

Type 2 diabetes can be slowed or even prevented. If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of diabetes, discuss your concerns with a doctor.