Doctors' Notes

5 Signs You Might Have Diabetes

Our physician experts share five commonly ignored signs of diabetes that you need to know. Take a simple quiz to find out your risk for diabetes.
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Welcome to Doctors’ Notes, our newest contribution from Urban Health correspondents and husband and wife physicians Dr. Rob and Dr. Karla Robinson.  The dynamic duo will be fielding questions about health, as it relates to African Americans.  Please feel free to send them questions via digitalpitches@ebony.comWe promise to keep it anonymous. 


Twenty-six million people in this country have diabetes and close to 8 million of these people have no idea they are living with it. Diabetes Alert Day is an annual effort to bring awareness to this disease for those people who may be unknowingly living with diabetes or those most at risk for developing it.

Twenty-percent of adults in our community have diabetes.  Add the fact that 1 in 3 adults have “pre-diabetes” and it is easy to see why everybody has been impacted by this disease in some way or another.

In honor of Diabetes Alert Day, we want you to know your risk for diabetes.  Make sure you aren’t missing these subtle warning signs that you should be tested for diabetes.

#1. Dark skin on the back of the neck:  Often mistaken for a dirty neck, this darkening of the skin on the back of the neck is known as acanthosis nigricans.  It is can actually be one of the first signs of insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.  You can also find it in the armpit, groin, and other skin folds.

#2. Frequent yeast infections:  Untreated diabetes can cause recurrent yeast infections in women.  In men, this can also present as frequent fungal infections of the groin, armpit, and other skin folds. Don’t simply attempt to self-treat these infections at home with over-the-counter medications, notify your doctor.

#3. Slow-healing wounds:  Diabetes can cause immune system dysfunction.  The resulting high blood sugars can therefore impair the body’s ability to heal wounds effectively.  This can lead to minor cuts and scrapes becoming severely infected and taking much longer to heal.

#4. Numbness/tingling of the hands or feet:  Diabetes can cause nerve damage throughout the body, and can especially affect the sensation of the hands and feet.  This loss of nerve function can take the form of numbness, tingling, burning, and/or pain.

#5. Blurry vision:  Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness.  The changes that can eventually lead to loss of vision are due to uncontrolled diabetes affecting the small blood vessels and nerves of the eye.  Complications of diabetes can lead to loss of vision, blurry vision, or spots in the vision.

If you have any of these signs, you need to talk to your doctor about being tested for diabetes.

Take this quiz to find out your risk for diabetes and share with a friend!

It’s a health thing…we’ve got to understand!

About the Doctors:

Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob are the founders of Urban Housecall Magazine and host the Urban Housecall Radio Show.  For more from the doctors, visit their website at, like them on Facebook UrbanHousecallMagazine, and follow them on Twitter @urbanhousecall!