What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

Paulla Estes
Paulla Estes

Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough, or properly use insulin. Our bodies use insulin to convert carbohydrates into energy. Approximately 13 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, though the cause is still unknown. Many doctors believe lack of exercise and excess weight are significant factors.

A person with foot and ankle swelling, which is a sign of diabetes.
A person with foot and ankle swelling, which is a sign of diabetes.

Many people do not know they are at risk for diabetes. If a person is under 65 and gets little or no exercise, or over 65, he may be a candidate for diabetes. If a person is overweight, has a family history of diabetes, or is Hispanic, African American, Asian American, Native American, or a Pacific Islander, he may be a candidate for diabetes. A woman who has given birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds may also have a higher risk for diabetes.

Fruits and vegetable should be part of a healthy diet.
Fruits and vegetable should be part of a healthy diet.

Symptoms of diabetes include extreme thirst and hunger, weight loss, fatigue, frequent urination, general irritability, and blurred vision. Most people experience each of these symptoms from time to time, so they are easily ignored. If you or a loved one experiences some or all of these symptoms regularly, see your doctor about diabetes testing.

Blurred vision  is a symptom of diabetes.
Blurred vision is a symptom of diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is a condition when blood sugar levels are elevated, but have not reached dangerous levels. Having pre-diabetes does not mean a person will ultimately have diabetes. Progression to diabetes can be avoided through weight loss, diet, exercise, avoiding tobacco, and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

It is critical for those with diabetes to check their blood sugar regularly.
It is critical for those with diabetes to check their blood sugar regularly.

To test for diabetes or pre-diabetes, a doctor will give a Fasting Plasma Glucose Test or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test to determine blood sugar levels. After a fast, if blood sugar levels are above 100, a person may have pre-diabetes. If blood sugar levels are above 125, a person may have diabetes.

Excessive consumption of water and fluids can be a symptom of diabetes.
Excessive consumption of water and fluids can be a symptom of diabetes.

Treatment for diabetes includes insulin injections and a change in habits. Daily exercise and a healthy diet of fruit, vegetables and whole grains will help to prevent diabetes. Always talk to your doctor about changing your diet or beginning an exercise regimen. With the proper diet and exercise, you may be able to lower your risk of diabetes.

Physicians advise regular diabetes screenings for people over the age of 45.
Physicians advise regular diabetes screenings for people over the age of 45.
A physician may order tests if the patient exhibits signs of diabetes or has high risk factors.
A physician may order tests if the patient exhibits signs of diabetes or has high risk factors.
Paulla Estes
Paulla Estes

Paulla is a freelance writer and website editor who currently lives in Maine. Paulla has a B.A. in English Literature from George Mason University and over 15 years of experience as a freelancer. She relishes the flexibility and consistency of working on wiseGEEK articles, as well as the opportunity to constantly learn something new.

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Discussion Comments

anon214725

@anon111898: The symptoms you describe do sound suspiciously like a condition called neuropathy, and it can be triggered by unchecked diabetes. Some diabetics develop circulation and nerve problems, particularly in their hands or feet. This is the reason why many diabetics with neuropathy wear special non-binding "diabetic socks". If you're experiencing circulation and nerve problems, you may have been an undiagnosed diabetic for a number of years. Neuropathy and other complications don't always develop until the disease has gone unchecked for a while. Vision problems are also common for untreated diabetics.

Symptoms such as excessive thirst can be deceptive, because a lot of otherwise healthy people can become dehydrated for a number of other reasons. Frequent urination can also be relative-- some people just go to the bathroom more often than others.

What you need to consider is a combination of almost constant thirst combined with frequent urges to urinate. This is a sign your kidneys are working overtime to eliminate excess sugar from your body. Getting dehydrated while working in hot conditions isn't good, but it shouldn't increase your urge to urinate. Dehydration can make urine appear dark orange, but a diabetic's urine often appears normal to light in color. It's the frequency that stands out as a possible symptom, not the quantity.

anon111898

What about symptoms of blood circulation and things of that matter? the reason i ask is every morning and throughout the day my feet have a semi-painful tingly feeling. could this be a sign of diabetes?

anon40367

I'am working in a warehouse and they don't have air conditioners in the building, and the hot inside is terrible that make me sweat a lot because I'am in continuous movement. my question is if I drink too much liquid under this conditions is going to bring me consequences?

anon362

I would really like some more information on the diabetes symptoms. I think im pre-diabetes is why i ask. Thank you in advance.

King

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