Is It Diabetes? These Diseases Present the Same Symptoms

Since diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, it’s important to recognize the symptoms as early as possible. Some common ones include thirst and hunger (which the American Diabetes Association says can occur even if you are eating), rapid weight loss, constant urination, and blurry vision. What’s tricky, though, is other serious illnesses share some of these symptoms, making it difficult to pin down what’s going on. If you think you might be in for a diabetes diagnosis, consider you may actually have another condition. These are a few diseases that present similar symptoms to diabetes.

1. Multiple sclerosis

X-ray images of brain

MS has similar symptoms to diabetes. | iStock.com

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the central nervous system. This includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves in your eyes. Since the brain is responsible for controlling every part of your body, the effects of MS are critical to your health. WebMD says your nerves are greatly impacted, meaning you may lose the ability to move and feel. MS can also cause overwhelming fatigue, blurred or double vision, and excessive trips to the bathroom, which are also symptoms of diabetes. Both illnesses can produce tingling sensations in the hands and feet as well, making things even more confusing.

2. Stroke

Concept of dementia disease and a loss of brain function

A stroke and diabetes can look quite similar. | iStock.com

According to the National Stroke Association, this disease is an attack on the brain that causes problems with memory and muscle control. During a stroke, the brain can’t get the blood and oxygen it needs, which causes brain cells to die. In addition to causing problems with muscle control, suffering a stroke can be deadly, so it’s worth knowing the warning signs.

The University of Maryland Medical Center mentions symptoms include loss of vision, sudden weakness, and prickling sensations similar to the ones someone with type-2 diabetes experiences. If you’re feeling whole-body fatigue and any of these other symptoms, it could be either condition. Make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible.

3. Glaucoma

man rubbing his eyes while he works on a laptop

It could be diabetes, or it could be glaucoma. | iStock.com

One of the early symptoms of diabetes is blurred vision caused by changing fluid levels. As a result, WebMD mentions the eyes may alter in shape, which disrupts the eye’s ability to focus. While such vision impairment may indicate diabetes, it’s equally as common among folks with glaucoma. The Glaucoma Research Foundation says this disease can cause irreversible vision loss, so it’s no joke. If you notice sudden changes in your vision, head to either your primary care physician or your optometrist.

4. Glucagonoma

Illustration of male pancreas anatomy

Diabetes and glucagonoma affect the pancreas. | iStock.com/sankalpmaya

Glucagonoma is a rare tumor that’s often cancerous and, like diabetes, affects the pancreas. Healthline says this tumor causes a spike in production of glucagon, a type of hormone that controls blood sugar levels. When your body produces too much of this hormone, it’s difficult for the cells to store sugar. As a result, the sugar continues to stay in the bloodstream. This can lead to diabetes-like symptoms, including frequent urination, weight loss, and increased thirst and hunger. Since both diabetes and glucagonoma have to do with the amount of sugar in the bloodstream, it’s easy to mistake one for the other.

5. Graves’ disease

Human Thyroid Gland Illustration

Graves’ disease can look like diabetes. | iStock.com/Nerthuz

Increased appetite, unexpected weight loss, fatigue, and blurred vision are all among the most common diabetes symptoms, but they may also indicate Graves’ disease. This condition causes the thyroid to go into overdrive, which Mayo Clinic says can eventually lead to fertility problems, heart disorders, and brittle bones. But before you get too worried, know that WebMD mentions Graves’ disease can go away completely if treated properly. Your doctor will do a complete physical and order some more specific tests if he or she thinks you may have this medical condition.

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