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What are the symptoms of diabetes?

In this article, we will first look at some of the common symptoms of diabetes. We will then look at differences that may occur in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. If you, or someone you love, identifies with these signs, talking to a doctor is crucial.

When it comes to identifying diabetes, everyone's a little different. It is essential to remember that diabetes does not always appear in one clear way. Sometimes the symptoms seem sudden. Other times it is gradual. Knowing the early signs of diabetes can help you protect the ones you love.

What are the warning signs of diabetes?

There are eight signs or symptoms of diabetes that should cause you to take notice.1

  • A lack of energy
  • Constant hunger
  • Frequent toilet use
  • Increased thirst
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Numb or tingling hands and feet
  • Extremely dry skin

Please note that this is a general list. These symptoms can occur in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. If you start to notice some signs, talk to your doctor. They can help you determine the next steps around diagnosis and treatments.

What are the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes?

With Type 1 diabetes, you will experience the general symptoms of diabetes. However, you might also feel nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains.2 Unlike Type 2 diabetes, the onset of symptoms may be very sudden. Even though the symptoms may overlap, the timing can help differentiate between the two.

What are the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes?

The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes are similar to the general symptoms. However, they may appear more mild. In some cases, you may not experience all of the symptoms, just a handful.3 Type 2 diabetes can often be challenging to identify. The mildness of the symptoms and the absence of others might make it more challenging to spot correctly.

How is diabetes diagnosed in adults?

Luckily, the process of diagnosing diabetes is relatively easy. Once you speak to your doctor, they can help you determine the next steps. Generally, a blood test will help you get the information needed. The blood test will look at your glucose levels.

Three tests can identify diabetes:

  • A1C: Measures the average percent of your blood over the last two to three months that has sugar attached to it. A diagnosis is made if A1C levels are greater than or equal to 6.5%. No fasting (not eating) is required; making it easier.4
  • Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG): Measures fasting blood sugar levels. You must fast for at least 8 hours prior to the test. It is best to schedule it first thing in the morning, before breakfast. Diabetes is diagnosed if fasting blood sugar levels are greater than or equal to 7 mmol/L.4
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): A two-hour test checks blood sugar levels before and after drinking a special sweet drink. It is used to understand how the body processes sugar.4

It’s essential to flag the early signs of diabetes and get checked out. Even if you do not experience all of the signs, going to the doctor is vital. You can still talk to your doctor and do a blood test.

Why is getting diabetes checked so necessary? Because left untreated or unmanaged, diabetes can lead to life-changing complications. 

You know your body better than anyone—trust what it is telling you. For yourself and your family, pay attention to the signs of diabetes!

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Diabetes Symptoms. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/symptoms.html. Accessed on April 28, 2021

  2. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/differences-between-type-1-and-type-2-diabetes

  3. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/diabetes-symptoms

  4. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/test-for-diabetes

  5. https://jdrf.org.uk/information-support/about-type-1-diabetes/what-are-the-signs-and-symptoms-of-type-1-diabetes/

Before making any changes to your lifestyle or medication, please speak to your healthcare professional to check it is suitable for you. The content is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely – you must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content. Although we make reasonable efforts to ensure that the content is up to date, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content is accurate, complete or up-to-date.

19 May 2021