Symptoms of diabetes


Symptoms of diabetes vary according to the amount of high blood sugar. Some people, especially those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, may not develop symptoms. But In type 1 diabetes, symptoms tend to appear quickly and be more severe.

The following are some early signs and symptoms that may appear in people with diabetes: 

  • Frequent urination and an increased risk of dehydration.
  •  Increased feeling of thirst due to dehydration. 
  • Weight loss in the absence of insulin, that is, in the case of type 1 diabetes. 
  • Nausea and vomiting in untreated diabetes. 
  • Feeling tired and general fatigue. 
  • Frequent exposure to infections.

Symptoms of diabetes

There are some symptoms and signs of high blood sugar (Hyperglycemia) that a person with diabetes can easily notice:

  • High blood sugar level (blood glucose): more than 130 mg/dL during fasting, or higher than 180 mg/dL two hours after eating a meal. 
  • Feeling thirsty more often than usual. 
  • Frequent need to urinate. 
  • High level of sugar in the urine than normal.
Diabetes syringe

It is worth noting that symptoms of diabetes appear and develop slowly over several days or even weeks. Yet, some people with type 2 diabetes may not show any symptoms for a long time despite their high sugar levels. Moreover, the longer the high blood sugar level is, the more serious the symptoms resulting from it are. 

What we have mentioned above are general symptoms of diabetes. Below, you will find early as well as advanced symptoms of diabetes.

Early symptoms of diabetes

Early signs and symptoms of high blood sugar in patients with diabetes include:

  • Feeling more thirsty than usual. 
  • Headaches. 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Difficult to concentrate. 
  • Confusion and blurred vision. 
  • Fatigue. 
  • Feeling hungry more than usual 
  • Losing weight for no justified reason. 
  • Feeling numb and tingling in hands or feet. 
  • Various skin changes and problems, such as dry skin or blisters heal slower than usual.
  •  Increased swelling and bleeding of the gums, the fact which may double the risk of infection. 
  • More common and unusual fungal infection.

Advanced symptoms of diabetes

Advanced signs and symptoms of diabetes include:

  • The appearance of a fruit-like smell in the mouth. 
  • Breathlessness. 
  • Confusion and mental disturbance.
  • Dry mouth. 
  • Feeling weak and exhausted. 
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  •  Pain in the abdominal area.
Blood glucose measurement

Actually, these advanced signs may lead to the accumulation of toxic acids in the blood and urine, known as ketones, that may cause another health problem known as diabetic ketoacidosis. So if they persist, don’t hesitate to see a doctor so as to avoid such complications.

Symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

Some people may not feel any symptoms when hypoglycemia occurs, for these symptoms rarely develop until their blood glucose level drops below 60 mg/dL. If they appear, they vary from person to person, and their onset does not always coincide with low blood sugar. 

As the severity of hypoglycemia signs differs from patient to patient, some people may not be able to identify these signs. In general, the symptoms associated with low blood sugar, vary between light and medium. Listed below are different types of hypoglycemia.

Unnoticed hypoglycemia

Unnoticed hypoglycemia is the failure to realize the early warning signs of hypoglycemia. This occurs in cases in which a person regularly suffers from a low blood sugar that makes him unaware of the developing or increasing condition when it actually occurs. Keeping it untreated may lead to more low blood sugar, thus suffering from serious complications which may kill the person. 

In fact, an actual drop in blood sugar level may not be realized until its level has dropped significantly and serious symptoms appear such as seizures and coma. However, this condition is controllable and reversible. 

Plus, taking care of one’s self and trying to regulate the level of blood sugar and keep it within the recommended range for a certain period of time may restore the patient’s ability to be conscious of any symptoms of hypoglycemia that might appear. 

In general, unnoticed hypoglycemia is a common condition, and the probability of its occurrence increases in certain groups more than in others. Listed below are some of the most prominent of these groups.

  • Patients who frequently suffer from hypoglycemia. 
  • Diabetics who have had this disease for 5-10 years. 
  • People with diabetes who follow an intensive insulin therapy regimen. 
  • Patients using oral diabetes medications, especially the elderly with heart or kidney disease. 
  • People who use medicines known as β-blockers like people with high blood pressure. These people get confused and become unable to distinguish the causes of these symptoms. 
  • Some people that are addicted to alcohol. 
  • Some patients who suffer from fatigue and exhaustion.

Mild hypoglycemia

Mild hypoglycemia is a case in which a person suffers from certain symptoms in addition to a slight sugar drop below 70 mg/dL. These symptoms quickly disappear when eating foods that contain sugar. 

We should note that many cases of mild hypoglycemia may not be accompanied by symptoms, like those of diabetics who have suffered from the disease for several years. 

Blood sugar control

 The most prominent symptoms associated with mild hypoglycemia are:

  • Increased sweating: This is one of the most common symptoms that can be detected by observing the back of the neck where we can notice skin moisture and coldness.
  • Headaches and dizziness. 
  • The pupils of the eye widen. Blurred vision. 
  • Nervousness, feeling tired and trembling. 
  • Nausea. 
  • Extreme hunger. 
  • Insomnia. 
  • The sensation of tingling or numbness in the limbs. 
  • Anxiety and accelerated heartbeat or palpitations. 

It should be noted that parents should have a home sugar test monitor to use whenever they suspect that a given member of the family has diabetes. It may be difficult for someone to realize the symptoms of hypoglycemia, but parents ought to conduct the test immediately to make sure whether a person’s sugar level is low or not.

Moderate hypoglycemia

This type of hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar level drops to less than 40 mg/dL. It is always accompanied by behavioral changes. Here are some of its most frequent symptoms:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Confusion and irritability 
  • Unsteadiness while walking or standing 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Muscle twitching
  • Personality changes that can involve crying or anger

Severe hypoglycemia

This is a condition where the blood glucose level becomes so low that the patient loses his ability to help himself. If that happens, the people around him must take immediate action to raise his blood sugar level. This occurs more in diabetics who use insulin or certain oral medications, such as Sulfonylurea. In general, severe hypoglycemia in this category of diabetes is often due to changes in diet, level of exercise, or other medications they use.

 It is worth mentioning that this condition occurs more commonly in patients with type 1 diabetes because they use several injections of insulin on a daily basis. But this condition may occur in people with type 2 diabetes, specifically, those who use insulin. 

Symptoms of severe hypoglycemia can include: 

  • Spastic seizures 
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Inability to eat or drink fluids

Nightly hypoglycemia

This type of hypoglycemia may occur at night during sleep in many people without realizing that it has occurred. But family members may notice that by seeing the symptoms in the patient. 

It is worth noting that the state of nocturnal hypoglycemia is common in people with diabetes in general. But it is very common in people with type 1 diabetes, and somewhat prevalent in people with type 2 diabetes. The most prominent symptoms and signs associated with nightly hypoglycemia are:

  • Sweating during sleep 
  • Insomnia 
  • Watching nightmares. 
  • Talking or screaming while sleeping. 
  • Feeling of unrest when waking up. 
  • Having headaches when waking up. 
  • Trying to get out of bed or fall out of it, or walk while sleeping. 
  • The level of glucose in the morning is more than usual.

Symptoms that require medical intervention

There are certain cases of hypoglycemia that need emergency and medical assistance. Listed below are some of these cases.

  • Symptoms suspected to be associated with hypoglycemia in people without diabetes.
  • Lack of improvement in people with diabetes during hypoglycemia despite the use of therapeutic means, such as drinking juice, eating candy, or glucose tablets. 
  • Previous experience of symptoms of severe hypoglycemia 
  • Loss of consciousness in diabetics or people who have previously experienced hypoglycemia.

In the end, we hope we have met your information needs related to diabetes. If you think that there is a gap in this article, please, don’t hesitate to mention it in the comment box below. We will be very glad to try to this gap and be a source of satisfaction for you.

Thanks for your reading.

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