Can these physical symptoms be a sign of diabetes?

Reader’s Question: Both of my parents were diabetic, and my older sister has diabetes, too. I haven’t been diagnosed yet, but with my family history I’m worried. What are some of the symptoms I should be looking out for?

Dr. Glenn Rothfeld: Certainly genetics play a role in diabetes. But there’s plenty you can do to minimise your chances of ever facing a diabetes diagnosis – things like exercising regularly, cutting down on carbs, maintaining a sensible weight, and minimising your stress levels.

When type 2 diabetes is on the way, there are physical symptoms that can tip you off. Some of the most obvious are excessive thirst, frequent urination and constant fatigue. But, believe it or not, there are several other symptoms that have been proven to be early warning signs of diabetes, like:

  • Shin spots: These are the slow-spreading, brownish-red discolorations you’ll often find on your shins.
  • Skin tags: These most commonly appear on your neck, under your arms or in your groin area.
  • Dupuytren’s contracture: This is when the connective tissue under the skin of your hand begins to thicken and shorten. As the tissue tightens, it may pull your fingers down toward the palm of your hand.

While watching for these symptoms is helpful, it’s no substitute for regular blood sugar screening.

Keep those great health questions coming! Just send me an email at

Wishing you the best of health,

Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
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