Diabetes Symptoms and Signs (Type 1 & 2)

May 1, 2019

Diabetes symptoms can be so mild that you don’t notice them. That’s especially true of type 2 diabetes. Some people don’t find out they have Diabetes until they suffer from long-term damage caused by the disease.

With type 1 diabetes, the symptoms usually happen quickly, in a matter of days or a few weeks. They’re much more severe, too

Common Symptoms

Common symptoms of Diabetes are mostly inflected due to the presence of high glucose levels in blood.

  • Thirst, dry mouth
  • Polyuria (frequent urination)
  • Nocturia (frequent urination at night)
  • Tiredness, Fatigue
  • Recent Change in weight (weight loss)
  • Blurring of vision
  • Pruritus vulvae, balanitis (genital itching)
  • Nausea, headache
  • Hyperphagia(urge to eat more sweet food), predilection for sweet foods
  • Mood change, irritability, difficulty in concentrating, apathy

Both types of diabetes have some of the same telltale warning signs.

  • Hunger and fatigue – Your body converts the food you eat into glucose that your cells use for energy. But your cells need insulin to bring the glucose in. If your body doesn’t make enough or any insulin, or if your cells resist the insulin your body makes, the glucose can’t enter the cells and so, the organs may not function normally. Also, this can make you more hungry and tired than usual.
  • Passing urine more often and being thirstierThe average person usually has to pee between four and seven times in 24 hours, but people with diabetes may go a lot more. Because you’re peeing so much, you can get very thirsty. When you drink more, you’ll also pass urine more.
  • Dry mouth and itchy skin – Because your body is using fluids to make urine, there’s less moisture for other things. You could get dehydrated, and your mouth may feel dry. Dry skin can make you itchy.
  • Blurred vision – Changing fluid levels in your body could make the lenses in your eyes dry up. They change shape and lose their ability to focus.

Comparative clinical features of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Symptoms Type 1 Type 2
Typical age at onset <40 years >50 years
Duration of symptoms Weeks Months to years
Body weight Normal or low Obese
Ketonuria(ketone bodies are present in urine) Yes No
Rapid death without treatment with insulin Yes No
Autoantibodies Yes No
Diabetic complications at diagnosis No 25%
Family history of diabetes Uncommon Common
Other autoimmune disease Common Uncommon

Other related conditions – These conditions are commonly associated with Diabetes

  • Coeliac Disease – Coeliac disease is a lifelong condition where your immune system reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. This immune reaction damages the lining of your gut, making it hard to absorb nutrients from food properly. Coeliac disease is more common in people with Type 1 diabetes because both are autoimmune conditions. Up to 10 per cent of people with coeliac disease also have Type 1 diabetes. If you have Type 2 diabetes you’re not at increased risk of coeliac disease as Type 2 diabetes isn’t an autoimmune condition.
  • Hypo or Hyper thyroidism – Thyroid disorders tend to coexist in patients with Diabetes. Both conditions involve a dysfunction of the endocrine system. Thyroid disorders can have a major impact on glucose control, and untreated thyroid disorders affect the management of diabetes in patients. Consequently, all patients with Diabetes should be screened for Thyroid dysfunction.
  • PCOS – Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that can affect a woman’s ability to produce eggs. PCOS is linked with higher levels of insulin resistance, making them more prone to develop type 2 diabetes. Some common symptoms of PCOS are irregular periods or no periods at all, difficulty in getting pregnant because of irregular ovulation, excessive hair growth usually on the chest, face, back and buttocks, weight gain, hair loss from the head, oily skin and acne. The main challenges that PCOS patients need to overcome are get regular menstruation before marriage, conceiving after marriage and not get an early menopause.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea – Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) alters glucose metabolism, promotes insulin resistance, and is associated with development of type 2 diabetes. Reducing Obesity may decrease obstructive sleep apnea and risk of developing type 2 Diabetes. Symptoms of Obstructive sleep apnea may range from –  excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, dry mouth, sore throat, morning headache and difficulty concentrating during the day.
  • Frozen shoulder – “Frozen shoulder” is a condition where the shoulder joint gradually loses mobility over a period of time, until the joint becomes immobile or “frozen.” It is often very painful at first. Frozen shoulder is more prevalent in people who have diabetes. Frozen shoulders can be managed well with Physiotherapy and maintaining HbA1c less than 7.
  • Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and osteoarthritis (OA) often come together. While the relationship is complex, OA and T2DM may feed into each other in a vicious cycle—with progression of T2DM contributing to worsening OA, and vice versa. Symptoms of Osteoarthritis may range from – joint tenderness, increased pain and stiffness when you have not moved your joints for a while, a grating or cracking sound or sensation in your joints and limited range of movements in your joints.
  • Trigger Finger – A painful condition that causes catching or locking of a finger as it is extended. Trigger finger is due to overgrowth of tissue in the tendon sheath (the protective membrane) of the flexor muscles. Trigger finger is a fairly common complication of long-standing diabetes.
  • Carpel tunnel Syndrome – Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is found in the wrist, and occurs when a nerve in the carpal tunnel that controls sensation and hand movement becomes compressed. Having diabetes can increase the risk of getting carpal tunnel, while researchers have also found that having carpal tunnel syndrome could be a predictor for developing diabetes.
  • Periodontal infections – People with diabetes have a higher than normal risk of periodontal diseases. Periodontal diseases are infections of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. … Like any infectiongum disease can make it hard to keep your blood sugar under control.
  • Skin Infections – Diabetes can affect every part of the body, including the skin. In fact, such problems are sometimes the first sign that a person has diabetes. Luckily, most skin conditions can be prevented or easily treated if caught early. These include bacterial infections, fungal infections, itching, abnormal fat deposition, Skin pigmentation and diabetic blisters.

Who should routinely check for Diabetes?

If you’re older than 45 and have any one of the below –

  • Physical inactivity
  • BMI – more than 25
  • Ethnicity – It is more common in Asians
  • Patients with high blood pressure
  • Patients with abnormal lipid profile
  • Existing heart disease
  • Ladies with previous history with Diabetes during pregnancy