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Guide to Diabetes

Signs and Symptoms

It is quite common for people to have diabetes for months or even years without realising they have it. This is because many people put the symptoms of diabetes down to old age and by the time they go to their doctor they have already developed some of the complications associated with diabetes such as heart problems, nerve damage, eye and foot problems.

The main symptoms of diabetes are: 

  • Feeling tired (because the glucose is in the blood not in the body cells where it is needed for energy). Feeling sleepy, especially after food. 
  • Increased thirst and a dry mouth (caused by increased passing of water (urination))
  • Going to the toilet more often to urinate, especially at night. (this is the body’s way of getting rid of too much glucose from the blood stream). Passing large quantities of urine
  • Blurred vision (caused by abnormally high blood sugar levels changing the shape of the lens which affects focus)
  • Weight loss (caused by the body breaking down protein and fat stores as an alternative energy source)
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • There are few signs and symptoms that are specific to both types of diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes 

People with diabetes type 1 usually feel unwell the symptoms develop very quickly (over a few weeks) and are very obvious. Symptoms are:

  • Passing more urine than normal
  • Increased thirst and a dry mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness

Type 2 diabetes

People with Type 2 Diabetes develop the symptoms over a period of time and they are less severe, you may not even notice you have symptoms until the diabetes is diagnosed at routine medical examinations. The onset of diabetes can occur from between 9 and 12 years before people are diagnosed. This in turn results in people already having signs of diabetes complications.

  • Passing more urine than normal
  • Tiredness
  • Increased thirst and a dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Genital itching,which may cause thrush
  • More infections

This type of diabetes mainly affects people over 40. It is more commonly diagnosed in Asian or African-Caribbean, if you are overweight or if you have had diabetes during pregnancy. (Gestational 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. 

Gestational Diabetes 

pregnant woman

Gestational Diabetes usually occurs after the 24th week of pregnancy even if you do have diabetes previously. This may lead on to develop diabetes in later life and  women who have had gestational diabetes should be screened every year. The symptoms are the same as those listed above.

N.B. If you do think you have any of these symptoms contact your GP.

Updated at 2012-09-24 11:57:48 by Shehnaz Jamal