What are the Early Symptoms of Diabetes?

The early symptoms of diabetes typically include excessive hunger, thirst, and fatigue. Many people may also find that the need to urinate comes much more frequently than normal. Another common early diabetes symptom is increased drowsiness and fatigue. It is also typical for people with diabetes to discover that they are losing weight in spite of no change in their regular eating habits. Additionally, people in the early stages of diabetes may start to notice that minor injuries, like bruises and sores, take much longer to heal than they did in the past.

Early symptoms of diabetes often go unnoticed because they tend to mimic so many other problems. Most people will write these symptoms off as nothing to worry about at first. Ignoring diabetes symptoms can be dangerous because the illness is life threatening, and it will usually worsen without proper treatment. A person who is experiencing more than one of the early symptoms of diabetes may benefit from speaking to his or her doctor as soon as possible. Doctors can quickly determine if a person is diabetic through a simple screening process.


Screening a person with early symptoms of diabetes typically involves a blood test in which the patient much fast for a specified period of time prior to the test. Results that show blood sugar levels greater than 126 generally indicate the person may be diabetic. Most doctors will not officially diagnose a patient based on the results of this initial test. It is common for a patient to undergo two or three fasting blood tests on different days so the doctor can see if the blood sugar levels are consistently high. After diabetes has been confirmed, a doctor must find out if a patient has type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when a person's pancreas can no longer make insulin. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn't respond to the insulin the pancreas makes. Most people who have diabetes are diagnosed with type 2. It is often tricky for doctors to know exactly which type of diabetes a person has, but the use of various lab tests to check the levels of ketones, antibodies, and uric acid in the body can help. A doctor can effectively begin treatment on a patient once he or she understands which type of diabetes the patient has.

A person with type 1 diabetes will most likely have to take insulin every day along with regularly checking blood sugar levels to be sure they are staying stable. It is also necessary for a person with type 1 diabetes to carefully monitor what he or she eats and avoid foods that are very high in sugar. Type 2 diabetes is usually treated with prescription medication that helps to reduce how much sugar the liver makes, which can aid in keeping sugar levels in the normal range. People with type 2 diabetes usually must carefully monitor their sugar levels throughout the day and eat a healthy, balanced diet.



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