Diabetes | Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Symptoms vary from person to person. The early stages of diabetes have very few symptoms, so you may not know you have the disease. But damage may already be happening to your eyes, your kidneys and your cardiovascular system even before you notice symptoms. Common symptoms include the following:

  • Extreme hunger
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow-healing wounds, sores or bruises
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Frequent or recurring skin, gum, bladder or vaginal yeast infections

People who have type 2 diabetes may also show signs of insulin resistance, such as darkening skin around the neck or in the armpits, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, yeast infections and skipped or absent periods in teen girls and women.

Call your doctor if:

  • You start feeling very thirsty and are urinating more often than usual.
  • You are nauseous or vomit more than once.
  • You lose a significant amount of weight.
  • You start breathing deeper and faster.
  • Your breath smells like nail polish remover.
  • You start to tremble, feel weak and drowsy, and then feel confused or dizzy, or your vision becomes blurred.
  • You feel uncoordinated.
  • You have a sore, blister or wound (especially on your feet) that won't heal.

If blood sugar levels become very high without treatment, a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis may develop. If this happens, symptoms may include shortness of breath, pain in the abdomen, vomiting, dehydration, and even coma and death if left untreated.

Bibliography

See a list of resources used in the development of this information.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 01/11
Created: 01/99

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