Diabetes Symptoms

Diabetes Symptoms are different from signs of diabetes. While diabetes signs are those things someone else can observe, the symptoms of diabetes are those things that only the person with the disease feels. We are going to use diabetes signs and symptoms of diabetes interchangeably here. However, we want you to be able to differentiate between them if there is need to do so.

Also, it is good to know that these symptoms can become signs of diabetes if they result in certain behaviors that another person can observe. For instance, only the person with diabetes knows when he/she is thirsty, so increased thirst is one of the symptoms of diabetes. However, when the person starts to drink too much, it becomes a sign that can be observed by others that this person must have more than usual thirst. Too much drinking is one of the signs of diabetes.

Now that we have explained the difference between signs of diabetes and symptoms of diabetes, let us continue.

Type 1 Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, the early warning signs of diabetes are real symptoms. This is because this is not insulin resistance. The problem is that the body does not have insulin. Type 1 diabetes starts with real symptoms of high blood sugar. The blood glucose increases and there will be high blood sugar, also called hyperglycemia. The early warning signs of type 1 diabetes is the observance of the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia in someone who was not diabetic.

The signs and symptoms of prolonged hyperglycemia that can be observed are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Fruity breath
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Sugar in urine
  • Blood sugar of 180mg/dl or more
  • Headache
  • Ketone in urine
  • Increase in appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Heavy breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Yeast infections and other infections
  • Tingling or loss of feeling in the fingers and toes

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can start with a state that is called pre-diabetes. In pre-diabetes, early warning signs of diabetes can be observed. Pre-diabetes, is when the person has impaired glucose tolerance, which means that the body is not using glucose normally.

One of the early warning signs of diabetes that is observed in pre-diabetes is increase in weight. Obesity is one of the causes of adult onset diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes. When the weight increases, insulin resistance increases. Insulin resistance causes increase in blood sugar and increase in appetite. These increase the weight further, creating more insulin resistance, until full blown diabetes.

Other early symptoms of diabetes are:

  • Increased appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Yeast infections
  • Vaginal infections
  • Skin infections
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Nausea
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Numbness or tingling in fingers and toes
  • Fatigue

Sometimes the above diabetes symptoms may be subtle in pre-diabetes and early part of the disease. It is easy to ignore some these early symptoms of diabetes or attribute them to other causes. This is why some people have type 2 diabetes for several years without realizing it. When diabetes is full blown.

Advanced Diabetes Symptoms are:

  • Hyperglycemia, which is high blood sugar/glucose.
  • Diabetic neuropathy: This causes numbness, tingling or pain in fingers and toes.
  • Calluses on the soles of feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight loss
  • Gum disease
  • Non healing wounds
  • Frequent infections
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Yeast infections and other infections
  • Decreased energy


Hyerglycemia is one of the cardinal diabetes symptoms. Hyperglycemia is high blood sugar which is a medical emergency. If not treated, hyperglycemia can progress to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in type 1 diabetics. In type 2 diabetics, untreated hyperglycemia can lead to metabolic acidosis or diabetic non-ketotic coma, also called HHNS. Diabetic coma is very serious emergency.

The following are symptoms of hyperglycemia.

  • Dry flushed skin
  • Increased appetite (polyphagia)
  • Increased thirst (polydipsia)
  • Increased urination (polyuria)
  • Dry skin and lips
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Sugar in urine
  • Fruity smell in breath can be observed in type 1 diabetes
  • Ketones in urine, in the case of type 1 diabetes

Hyperglycemia should be treated immediately. The doctor sometimes orders immediate release insulin to be used as needed to lower blood sugar in the case of hyperglycemia. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of acute hyperglycemia to prevent it from progressing into coma and minimize diabetes complications.

Gestational Diabetes Symptoms

Symptoms of gestational diabetes are usually the symptoms of hyperglycemia that is generally observed in type 2 diabetes. One of the most important of the gestational diabetes symptoms that results if the gestational diabetes is not treated is the inability of the pregnant mother to gain weight.

Weight loss in pregnancy is one of the symptoms of hyperglycemia. This happens because the body is not sensing the high sugar in the blood because of insulin resistance. The body is then tricked to think that there is no glucose in the blood, so it breaks down the fat stores and releases more sugar into the blood.

Hypoglycemia Symptoms

Hypoglycemia symptoms are not really diabetes symptoms, but symptoms that result from too much insulin action that has resulted in lower blood sugar. During insulin treatment, it is important for the patient to watch out for the signs of hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar. This happens when there is too much insulin in the blood. The insulin then moves too much glucose out of the blood. The result of this is that there is not enough glucose for the blood to carry to the tissues. The tissues get starved of glucose and that leads to symptoms of hypoglycemia.

These are hypoglycemia symptoms:

  • Blood sugar of 70mg/dl or less
  • Sweating
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Hunger
  • Slurred speech
  • Being shaky or nervous
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue

Many times, symptoms of low blood sugar may resolve on their own in type 2 diabetics if the liver releases glucose from the glycogen stores. It is also easy to treat if the patient is still conscious by giving high sugar drink like soda or skim milk. You may want to take the diabetes symptoms quiz to test you knowledge of diabetes symptoms. Return from Diabetes Symptoms to Home

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