Could You Have Diabetes and Not Know It?

Mar 22, 2024
Could You Have Diabetes and Not Know It?
Some diseases have no symptoms in their early stages, and diabetes is one of them. Learn your risk factors for diabetes and the common symptoms that you may mistake for normal aging.

Have you noticed some physical changes that you think are age-related? Perhaps you feel hungry and tired much of the time, but you’ve chalked it up to simply growing older or the result of the stress of everyday life. 

These subtle symptoms could signal that you have Type 2 diabetes. 

At Ample Health in Carmichael, California, Dr. Dheeraj Kamra, Dr. Mythili Nagaraj

Yelena Popova, PA-C, and Alice Phillips, FNP, treat many patients with diabetes. It’s important to get your blood sugar under control so you don’t sustain permanent nerve, kidney, or eye damage or suffer a heart problem. 

Early diabetes symptoms are subtle

About 20% of people with diabetes don’t know that they have it. Are you in that group? The only way to tell is to get a medical checkup. 

When it comes to prediabetes, the statistics are even more concerning: A third of American adults have prediabetes, and 80% of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. 

Sometimes, diabetes presents no symptoms in the early stages. And some symptoms develop over a number of years, so you don’t notice changes that can morph into a health crisis. 

Diabetes symptoms 

Now that you know diabetes develops slowly, you can watch out for these symptoms: 

  • Getting up to urinate several times during the night
  • Constant thirst
  • Weight loss without going on a diet
  • Hungry feeling most of the time 
  • Blurry vision
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
  • Fatigue most of the time 
  • Very dry skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Cuts and wounds that take a long time to heal 
  • Susceptibility to infections 

Know the risk factors for diabetes

Knowing the risk factors for diabetes helps you identify whether physical changes you’ve noticed could be a sign of the disease. Common risk factors include being:

Overweight or obese

The evidence is in: Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for diabetes. You’re six times more likely to develop diabetes than someone who isn’t obese. 

Over age 45

If you’re older than 45, you’re more likely to develop diabetes, especially if you have other risk factors. And the likelihood of developing diabetes increases as you age. One-quarter of American adults over age 65 are diagnosed with diabetes. 


If you’re not physically active and don’t exercise regularly, you’re at high risk for diabetes. Regular exercise helps control your blood sugar and insulin levels. The Ample team recommends moderate exercise about five days per week, and no less than 150 minutes per week. 

A person of color 

If you’re a person of color, you’re at higher risk of diabetes than a white person in the United States. Genetics and environment both play a role. Access to healthy food and health care are just two environmental factors that can affect non-white Americans disproportionately. 

Call us at Ample Health or book an appointment online if you have unexplained physical symptoms for which you need an answer, particularly if you have diabetes risk factors.