Early signs and symptoms of diabetes: From neck, underarm skin turning dark to UTI, weight loss, more

In 2017, the theme of World Diabetes Day was ‘women and diabetes’, simply because one in 10 women is affected by this disease today. Women also suffer more as they are never able to give up their role as the primary caregiver, even when they are facing the various symptoms of this disease. It’s important to know what symptoms to look for.

Frequent episodes of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

The genital anatomy of women is such that chancers of UTI are high. “In Indian women, who wear sarees, UTI is more common. But when you suffer from this condition often, it’s time to get your blood sugar level analysed,” says Dr Pradeep Gadge, diabetologist, Dr Gadge’s Diabetes Care Centre. High blood sugar attracts infectious agents like bacteria and yeast. “If there is an increase in the number of UTI episodes, for instance more than 2-3 times a month, it could be sign of high blood sugar in the body,” says Dr Mahesh Chavan, consultant, endocrinologist, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.

Need to urinate often

Since diabetics have excess sugar in their blood, the body tries to remove it by urination. “When a person experiences the need to urinate more than usual, and this continues for 2-3 weeks, it could be a sign of diabetes,” says Dr Chavan.

Dark neck, underarms

These areas in our body are sensitive to insulin. Therefore, when there is insulin resistance in the body, these areas become darker. “Darkening of neck and underarms is also seen in women with PCOS,” he adds. “Women who suffer from PCOD have high chances of being diabetic,” says Dr Gadge.

Unusual weight loss and tiredness

When the body is unable to process sugar properly, it uses the sugar to fuel the body. It burns the fat reserves for energy and dehydration, which may cause the weight loss.


According to Dr Ghadge, women who work in shifts, for MNCs in the US and UK, are more prone to diabetes. “Being up at night, working night shifts can cause diabetes,” he adds.


Often diabetes is detected post a visit to your eye doctor. “Excess sugar in the blood could lead to vision issues because of changes in lens, blood vessels in retina,” says Dr Chavan.

So, if you or anyone you know has been complaining of any of these above signs, it’s time to get the blood sugar level tested.

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