Symptoms of diabetes

The main symptoms of diabetes are:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Producing excessive amounts of urine (going to the toilet a lot)
  • Tiredness/Fatigue – often falling asleep at inappropriate times
  • Weight loss and muscle wasting (loss of muscle bulk)
  • Blurred vision

Other symptoms can include:

  • Itchiness around the vagina or penis
  • Getting thrush regularly, due to the excess sugar in your urine encouraging infections
  • Frequent skin infections, e.g. boils
  • Tingling and/or pain in extremeties such as fingers and toes
  • Cuts or sores take a long time to heal

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can develop quickly, usually over days or weeks. In type 1 diabetics, a condition called ketoacidosis is common. This occurs when acid compounds (ketones) form in the blood. If untreated, this can result in extremely serious complications and even death, but it can be the first indicator of the presence of type 1 diabetes. In T1.5 diabetes the symptoms may be mistaken for T2 diabetes as ketones may not be present due to the small amount of insulin still being produced naturally. In such cases T1.5 diabetics are often misdiagnosed and though they may initially respond to the oral medications routinely prescribed for T2 diabetics, they will eventually require insulin. Fast weightloss and muscle wasting are often to be observed in T1 and T1.5 diabetics.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes usually develop over weeks or months. Some people with type 2 diabetes have few symptoms or even no symptoms at all. However, they still need to have treatment so that other health problems, such as kidney disease, do not develop later on. In type 2 diabetes, symptoms may go unnoticed for years, and only when complications of diabetes – such as foot ulceration or blurred vision occur – is diabetes diagnosed. Remember that all the symptoms may not be present. Whenever any of these symptoms arise, it’s important to be tested for diabetes.

In both types of diabetes, the symptoms are quickly relieved once the diabetes is treated. Early treatment will also reduce the chances of developing serious health problems.