Diabetes Signs & Symptoms
Diabetes signs and symptoms can be tricky to spot but if you suspect anything, act at once. Nobody wants diabetes, and accepting that you may have something wrong with you can be difficult. However, if you know what to look out for and realise there might be a problem it could be the difference between taking yourself to the doctor or being brought into hospital by ambulance.
For Type 1 diabetes, the signs and symptoms can develop very quickly over the course of a few weeks.
For Type 2 diabetes, they may not be so obvious. The condition tends to develop over a few years and might only be picked up in a routine check up.
For both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, the symptoms are quickly relieved once they are treated and well-managed.
Watch out for the following symptoms, and go to the doctor to get checked out if you think you’ve got some or all of them:
- feeling very thirsty
- peeing a lot
- weight loss and muscle wasting
- itchiness around the vagina or penis or getting thrush regularly
- blurred vision (caused by the lens of your eye becoming very dry)
- skin infections
Check out Diabetes UK's video on the 4 Ts of diabetes:
"Knowing the symptoms of diabetes" - NHS (UK)
"Symptoms" - American diabetes Association (US)
If you’ve had a few of these symptoms for a while, but you suddenly get the following
GO TO A DOCTOR OR A HOSPITAL STRAIGHTAWAY:
- a loss of appetite
- nausea or vomiting
- a high temperature
- stomach pain
- a fruity smell on your breath, like ‘pear drops’ or nail varnish.
If you have these symptoms you could be suffering from Diabetic KetoAcidosis (DKA), which is a life-threatening condition. SEEK EMERGENCY HELP IMMEDIATELY.
The trouble is most of the symptoms can be easily ignored or put down to something else. Usually, if you’re tired you think “Oh, I’ve just been working too hard/ played a lot of sport/ been going out too much lately”, or “I may be coming down with a cold.” Similarly, if you’re peeing a lot you may think you’re just drinking too much water, or possibly that you’ve got a bladder infection. They may not seem significant but these feelings can be life-changing, or even life-threatening.
Find out more about Joe's Diagnosis and Diabetic Stigma here.