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Symptoms of diabetes

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can begin so gradually that people may not know that they have diabetes. Symptoms of type-2 diabetes include:

  • High blood glucose level (hyperglycaemia)
  • Glucose in urine (glycosuria)
  • Frequent thirst - as the body uses urine to get rid of excess glucose
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue, drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Infections that will not heal quickly
  • Sometimes nausea and vomiting
  • Cuts and bruises that take too long to heal
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Erection problems
  • Women may also complain of urinary tract infections or vaginal itching
  • People with type-1 or type-2 diabetes are at higher risk of contracting respiratory, urinary tract and skin infections than people without diabetes.

The first two of these symptoms will not be noticed by the person with diabetes, but should be picked up by a doctor on a routine check-up. The rest may well be noticed. If you have any of them, then ask your doctor for a blood test.

It is the third and fourth symptoms - increased thirst and urination - that are usually noticed first. When glucose is abnormally high, the body will attempt to combat this high level of glucose in the blood by drawing water out of the cells and into the bloodstream in an effort to dilute the sugar and excrete it in the urine.

It is not unusual for people with undiagnosed diabetes to be constantly thirsty, to drink large quantities of water, and to urinate frequently as their bodies try to get rid of the extra glucose.

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Last updated 23 January 2009

Disclaimer: The Diabetes Diet website should be used to support rather than replace medical advice advocated by physicians.

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