Diabetes Symptoms and Signs
Common Symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

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Symptoms and Signs of Diabetes

The two main types of diabetes mellitus (type 1 and type 2) share some common signs - both affect the body's blood sugar/glucose levels - but there are important diffences. In particular, type 1 diabetes typically has more severe symptoms, develops very quickly and may be diagnosed immediately. Type 2 diabetes develops more slowly, with milder symptoms and therefore tends to be more difficult to diagnose. Indeed, many "diabetics" have no obvious signs of the condition. Almost 6 million people in the United States (1 million in UK) have type 2 diabetes without realising it or being diagnosed. Here is a guide to the most common early symptoms of diabetes.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

Previously called "Juvenile" or "insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (IDDM), type 1 diabetes occurs more frequently in young people, although many adults also develop the condition. Common signs include:

Frequent Urination (polyuria)
Excess glucose in the blood is disposed of in our urine which becomes so concentrated that our body dilutes it by drawing more water out of our bloodstream. This fills up our bladder, leading to an increased need to urinate.

Increased Thirst (polydipsia)
Excessive loss of water through urination makes us begin to dehydrate, triggering greater thirst.

Unexplained Loss of Weight
We lose weight because our body expels glucose in our urine, causing our body to break down muscle and fat for energy.

We feel weak because (in the absence of adequate insulin) our muscle cells and other body tissues cannot obtain enough energy from food we convert to glucose.

Other possible signs of type 1 diabetes include: eyesight problems, more infections than usual, sores that take longer to heal, very dry skin. Also, in some type 1 diabetics, the above symptoms may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Previously called "adult-onset" or "noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (NIDDM), type 2 diabetes occurs more frequently in young people, although many adults also develop the condition. Common signs include:

Type 2 diabetes can cause chronic fatigue due to lack of useable glucose for energy.

Frequent Urination and Thirst
This is a common sign of type 2 and type 1 diabetes.

Blurred Vision
The lenses of our eyes may swell/shrink as our blood glucose levels rise and fall. This leads to a blurring of vision.

Persistent Urinary Infection in Women
Bacteria and fungi multiply in a high-glucose environment. This can cause chronic urinary tract infections, thrush, burning and itching.

Other possible signs of type 2 diabetes include: numbness in feet or legs, persistent skin and gum infections. In addition, obesity (BMI > 30) is commonly experienced by many type 2 diabetics.

Difference in Symptoms Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetics are usually younger than those with type 2 diabetes.

Patients with type 1 are usually thinner, as obesity or overweight is a common characteristic of type 2 diabetes.

People diagnosed with type 1 diabetes tend to have higher blood sugar levels at the diagnosis stage.

Type 1 diabetes develops much more abruptly than type 2 diabetes, and if not diagnosed and treated can lead to hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar syndromea any of which may cause a medical emergency.

If You Think You Have Symptoms

If you suspect you have symptoms of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, contact your doctor for a blood-glucose test, as soon as possible. Although perfectly treatable, diabetes is a serious metabolic disorder and requires medical attention.

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Carbs-Information.com provides general information about the glycemic index (GI), glycemic load (GL), low GI diets, GI values for all food groups, health problems of high blood glucose including metabolic disorders such as pre-diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinism as well as type 1 and type 2 diabetes. But no information is intended as a substitute for medical advice. Copyright 2003-2021.