Symptoms associated with type 1 diabetes can develop over a short period and include increased thirst and urination, constant hunger, and blurred vision. Type 2 diabetes symptoms usually develop gradually and may not be as noticeable. Typical symptoms of type 2 diabetes include frequent infections, slow-healing wounds, and frequent urination. Often, women with gestational diabetes experience no symptoms.
Diabetes is a condition in which too much sugar builds up in the blood. Over time, high levels of sugar in the blood can lead to serious health problems in the eyes, feet and hands, kidneys, and heart. However, many signs and symptoms of diabetes can occur long before before these complications develop.
Diabetes symptoms and signs often vary among individuals. Some people will have many symptoms when first diagnosed, while others have no symptoms at all. Instead, these people are diagnosed with diabetes after a routine lab exam identifies high levels of sugar in the blood (this is more often the case with type 2 diabetes).
In this article, we will discuss the common diabetes symptoms seen in type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes usually begins in young children and teenagers. People with this type of diabetes have a pancreas that doesn't produce enough insulin or that stops producing it altogether. This means they need to have insulin shots on a regular basis to help keep their blood sugar at the right level.
Type 1 diabetes symptoms usually develop over a short time. Unfortunately, most signs and symptoms do not begin until almost all insulin-producing cells are destroyed. By the time a person is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, damage to these cells is nearly complete.
Type 1 diabetes symptoms can include:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Constant hunger
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Excessive tiredness.
If not properly diagnosed and treated with insulin, an individual with type 1 diabetes can lapse into a diabetic coma, known as diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. Diabetic ketoacidosis can be life-threatening.
Often, children will experience vomiting, a sign of DKA, and mistakenly be diagnosed as having gastroenteritis (commonly known as the stomach flu). New-onset diabetes can be differentiated from a GI (gastrointestinal) infection by the frequent urination that accompanies continued vomiting; a GI "bug" would normally cause decreased urination due to dehydration (see Stomach Flu Symptoms).