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Lee Health is a nationally recognized, award-winning health system in Southwest Florida. We are caring people, inspiring health.

The numbers are surely attention getting: nearly 7 million Americans have undiagnosed diabetes. What gets less notice are the early warning signs.

“If they’re not going to their doctor, if they’re not seeing their physician they’re not having those lab works, they’re not reporting their signs they could just be going along with their normal daily activities,” says Melanie Aracri, a certified diabetes educator for Lee Health.

All too often patients show up at a hospital in a health crisis and find out they have highly elevated blood sugar. New studies find 1 in 10 heart attack patients may have undetected diabetes. We’ve broken down 5 warnings signs that should get your attention.

“The three classic signs of high blood sugar, we call them the three “P”s: polyphagia, polydipsia, and polyuria. Those are increased thirst, increased hunger, and increased urination,” says Aracri.

It’s easy to minimize increased thirst, especially when it’s hot. And frequent urination seems to naturally follow. But experts say it could be our body’s way of flushing extra glucose.

“The kidney has to work really hard to get that blood sugar out, that blood glucose out when it’s high,” says Aracri.

Wounds that don’t heal could be another warning sign.

“The body’s not able to fight that infection because of that extra glucose in the system,” says Aracri.

Frequent yeast or urinary tract infections may also be a red flag many people fail to consider. The earlier diabetes is picked up, the easier it is to avoid complications.

“it’s a learning how to adapt your eating pattern, your meal plan to your lifelong activities and daily habits,” says Aracri.