What are Diabetes symptoms?

Diabetes has various symptoms which are obvious to those who are aware of the disease. In most cases, those who do not know of the disease remain unaware of the symptoms until the disease is advanced, and damage has been done. Apart from the symptoms unique to the different types of diabetes, there are some common symptoms which occur to those affected by the disease. These symptoms are:

  • Fatigue: In diabetes, the body is inefficiently uses, or sometimes is unable to use glucose for fuel. The body switches over to metabolizing fat, partially or completely, as a fuel source. This process requires the body to use more energy. The end result is feeling fatigued or constantly tired.
  • Unexplained weight loss:  Thus, they may lose weight even though they eat an apparently appropriate or even excessive amount of food. Losing sugar and water in the urine and the accompanying dehydration also contributes to weight loss.
  • Excessive thirst (polydipsia): A person with diabetes develops high blood sugar levels which overwhelm the ability of the kidneys to reabsorb the sugar as the blood is filtered. The body tries to compensate for this in two ways. One way is the kidneys produce extra urine to flush out the excess sugar. The other way is the body tries to counteract the high blood sugar levels by sending a signal to the brain to dilute the blood. Both methods translate into excessive thirst.
  • Excessive urination (polyuria): The body tries to get rid of the extra sugar in the blood by creating extra urine, which results in excessive urination. This can lead to dehydration because excreting the sugar carries a large amount of water out of the body along with it.
  • Excessive eating (polyphagia): If the body is able, it will secrete more insulin to try to deal with the excessive blood sugar levels. One of the functions of insulin is to stimulate hunger. Despite increased caloric intake, the person may gain very little weight and may even lose weight.
  • Poor wound healing: High blood sugar levels prevent white blood cells, which are important in defending the body against bacteria and also in cleaning up dead tissue and cells, from functioning normally. When these cells do not function properly wounds take much longer to heal and become infected more frequently. Also, long-standing diabetes that is left untreated causes a thickening of the blood vessels. This prevents proper circulation. As a result not enough oxygen and nutrients are delivered to body's tissues, hindering the body's ability to heal.
  • Infections: Certain infections, such as frequent yeast infections of the genitals, skin infections, and frequent urinary tract infections, may result from suppression of the immune system by diabetes and by the presence of glucose in the tissues, which allow bacteria to grow well.
  • Altered mental status: Agitation, unexplained irritability, inattention, extreme lethargy, or confusion can all be signs of very high blood sugar (hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome) which can cause severe dehydration and even cause a person to lapse into a coma, or hypoglycemia (low sugar). Thus, any of these merit the immediate attention of a medical professional. Call your health care provider or 911.
  • Blurry vision: Blurry vision is not specific for diabetes but is frequently present with high blood sugar levels.

It's important to note that these symptoms can be caused by other conditions as well, so it's important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis. Early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes can help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes-related complications.

Begin Your Journey to Wellness with Patients Medical

Our job at Patients Medical is to listen, to connect the dots between a patient's medical history, symptoms, and their underlying causes. Patients Medical is a superb place for women and men to secure integrative and holistic health care from providers who give personalized care, partner with the patient to focus on the root cause of their illness, support their recovery, and help them maintain good health.

To make an appointment with one of our physicians, please call us at 1-212-794-8800. We look forward to hearing from you.


Make an Appointment