Symptoms of Diabetes


General information about symptoms of Diabetes: The symptom information on this page attempts to provide a list of some possible symptoms of Diabetes. This symptom information has been gathered from various sources, may not be fully accurate, and may not be the full list of symptoms of Diabetes. Furthermore, symptoms of Diabetes may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of symptoms and whether they are indeed symptoms of Diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes: The symptoms of diabetes progress according to the range and duration of high blood sugar levels. The symptoms usually start mild (e.g. poorly healing skin rashes), and then progress to the more severe symptoms (e.g. excessive thirst and urination), and then finally to the dangerous life-threatening conditions of HHNS or DKA. The progression of symptoms is usually slow over years for Type 2 diabetes and rapid over weeks or months for Type 1 diabetes. People with Type 2 diabetes often are undiagnosed long enough that they start to get symptoms of the complications of diabetes, such as kidney and foot problems.

List of symptoms of Diabetes: The list of symptoms mentioned in various sources for Diabetes includes:

Symptoms of Diabetes: Many people have no signs or symptoms. Symptoms can also be so mild that you might not even notice them. Five million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes and do not know it. Here is what to look for:

  • increased thirst
  • increased hunger
  • fatigue
  • increased urination, especially at night
  • weight loss
  • blurred vision
  • sores that do not heal

Sometimes people have symptoms but do not suspect diabetes. They delay scheduling a checkup because they do not feel sick. Many people do not find out they have the disease until they have diabetes complications, such as blurry vision or heart trouble. It is important to find out early if you have diabetes because treatment can prevent damage to the body from diabetes.1

An early sign of kidney damage is when your kidneys leak small amounts of a protein called albumin (al-BYOO-min) into the urine.

With more damage, the kidneys leak more and more protein. This problem is called proteinuria (PRO-tee-NOOR-ee-uh). More and more wastes build up in the blood. This damage gets worse until the kidneys fail. 2

Some people with diabetes feel "run down" or have symptoms that may go unrecognized. Others have symptoms such as feeling thirsty, urinating frequently, losing weight, feeling tired, having blurred vision, getting skin infections, and having slow healing cuts and bruises. These problems should be reported to a doctor right away.3

More symptoms of Diabetes: In addition to the above information, to get a full picture of the possible symptoms of this condition and its related conditions, it may be necessary to examine symptoms that may be caused by complications of Diabetes, underlying causes of Diabetes, associated conditions for Diabetes, risk factors for Diabetes, or other related conditions.

Medical articles on symptoms: These general reference articles may be of interest:

1. excerpt from Am I at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: NIDDK
2. excerpt from Keep your kidneys healthy: NIDDK
3. excerpt from Dealing With Diabetes - Age Page - Health Information: NIA

Last revision: April 10, 2003

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