Signs and symptoms

If you have diabetes you may experience a range of signs and symptoms. These will present differently depending on whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes signs and symptoms

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that is often diagnosed in childhood, although you can develop it at any age.

The signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes can develop suddenly over a few days or weeks. They can be severe and, if left untreated, life-threatening. Being diagnosed and treated quickly is critical.

Signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes may include:

  • Passing urine more frequently
  • Excessive thirst and drinking a lot of fluids
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Mood changes
  • Skin infections or itching
  • Oral or vaginal thrush
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive hunger
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision

 If you or a member of your family are experiencing one or more of these symptoms you should make an urgent appointment to see your doctor.

Type 2 diabetes signs and symptoms

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition that tends to develop gradually. As a result, the signs and symptoms may develop very slowly. You may not notice the signs or symptoms at all, or you may dismiss them as a normal part of getting older.

This can mean that by the time you notice something, you may have been living with diabetes for some years, and you could be at risk of developing complications. In some cases, those complications may be the first sign that you have diabetes.

  • Passing urine more frequently, commonly noticed at night
  • Dry mouth
  • Being more thirsty than usual
  • Feeling tired, lethargic or irritable
  • Constantly feeling hungry despite having eaten
  • Having cuts, sores or ulcers that heal slowly
  • Itching, skin infections
  • Thrush or bladder infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight changes – commonly a gradual increase in weight
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Pain or tingling in the lower legs and/or feet

 If you notice one or more of these signs or symptoms, you should make an appointment to see your doctor immediately.

Early detection and treatment of diabetes can prevent the development of serious, and in some cases life-threatening, health problems.

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