Pay Attention to These Warning Signs for Diabetes

by Editorial Board on April 26, 2011 · 0 comments

in Endocrine System

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are serious illnesses that require treatment to avoid even more serious conditions or complications later in life. Symptoms vary a bit according to the type of diabetes, but with either type 1 or 2 you will generally get some warning signs that tell you it’s time to see a doctor.

Common Symptoms

People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes typically have some or many of these problems at times:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Sores that heal slowly
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections, particularly of the gums, skin, vagina, or bladder

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

A diabetic ketoacidosis episode is how many people find out they have diabetes. When the cells in a body don’t get the insulin they need, the body breaks down its own fat for energy. This breakdown of fat produces toxic acids called ketones, which can cause serious problems including loss of consciousness or even death if not treated quickly.

Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis often develop quickly, often within 24 hours. You may experience:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Fruity-smelling breath


Prediabetes describes the condition when your blood sugar, or glucose, is above normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. If you don’t treat prediabetes it is likely to turn into type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

Prediabetes often has no symptoms, but if you are concerned about prediabetes you can look for the symptoms of diabetes, especially increased thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, and fatigue. You may also see darkened areas of skin around your neck, armpits, elbows, knees, and knuckles.

It’s a good idea to ask your doctor for glucose screening if you:

  • Are overweight, with a body mass index about 25 or more;
  • Are inactive;
  • Are 45 years old or older;
  • Developed gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby who weighed over nine pounds;
  • Are African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian American, or a Pacific Islander;
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome;
  • Have high blood pressure;
  • Normally sleep less than five and one-half hours a night; or
  • Your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is lower than 35 mg/dl or your triglycerides level is over 350 mg/dl.

Gentle Warnings of Diabetes

If you have diabetes you may have some warning signs, but these signs may seem harmless. Some may have no symptoms at all. If you have any of the symptoms of diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis, or prediabetes listed above, you should see your doctor right away and describe the problems you have encountered recently. The earlier you start treatment the quicker you can get your glucose levels under control and the more likely you will be to prevent more serious problems.

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