Around 29 million people in the US have diabetes, either type 1 or 2, and although most have learned to cope with this health condition, a surprising number of people actually don’t know that they have diabetes. In fact, almost 30 percent of people with diabetes aren’t aware that they have it.

Many people in generally good health see diabetes as something that only affects the elderly or vulnerable. And many of the symptoms can easily be mistaken for other diseases or conditions, including excessive thirst, going to the toilet frequently, unexplained weight loss and wounds that take longer to heal. Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in childhood, making it easier to identify, while type 2 diabetes tends to develop over time, making it easy to miss the warning signs.

There are other symptoms of diabetes, which again can all be commonly mistaken for signs of other unrelated health issues. Dark brown patches of skin on the body can be a warning sign, as can hearing loss and blurry vision, caused by a buildup of fluid from the extra sugar in the blood. Snoring loudly, or feeling tired during the day for no apparent reason are also indications that you might need to be tested for diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is just what the name suggests – a sign that you may be on the way to developing diabetes. With pre-diabetes, your blood sugar levels are higher than they should normally be, but not so high as to trigger alarm bells. If you are often thirsty, and more tired than you feel you should be, these can also be signs that you are at a higher risk. An estimated 40 million Americans have pre-diabetes; of these, around 10 percent will be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within a few years.

If you have a history of diabetes in your family, you are more likely to have diabetes, and there are other risk factors too. Anyone who is extremely overweight or inactive, or who smokes is statistically more likely to be coping with diabetes at some point. As we age, our bodies tolerate sugar less effectively, meaning it is more prevalent in the elderly. And statistically, those with certain ethnicities – Hispanic, Native American and African-American are more likely to experience diabetes. Of course, if any of the above applies to you, being tested for diabetes is an essential next step.