Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus – How To Identify Diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes mellitus are important to understand because if the disease is left untreated it can lead to serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, coma and death.

There are different types of diabetes including type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes and while they have different causes, their symptoms are strikingly similar.

The difference being that type 1 diabetes symptoms tend to develop quickly, while symptoms of type 2 diabetes tend to come on slowly over time and gestational diabetes symptoms present only in pregnant women.

How to recognize symptoms of diabetes mellitus

"As of 2000 at least 171 million people worldwide suffered from diabetes, or 2.8% of the population. Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common, affecting 90 to 95% of the U.S. diabetes population."

Symptoms of diabetes mellitus include:

  1. An increased feeling of thirst that is difficult to quench.
  2. An increased frequency of urination. A need to visit the bathroom more frequently or a need to get out of bed during the night to go to the restroom is one of the common symptoms of diabetes mellitus.
  3. Weakness or general fatigue that does not alleviate with rest. Diabetes is a condition that prevents sugar from leaving the blood and feeding the cells. This leads to a feeling of fatigue or weakness that does not easily go away.
  4. A noticeable loss of weight without dieting or other efforts. The diabetic body cannot use all the nutrients it receives through the diet and this can lead to an unexplained drop in weight.
  5. A sensation of tingling or numbness in the hands or feet. Identified as one of the signs of diabetes, this neuropathy develops over time as high blood sugar levels begin to affect the nervous system.
  6. Slow healing of bruises or cuts or frequent infections can develop as diabetes negatively affects the body’s ability to heal.
  7. Blurry vision. If blood sugar levels remain elevated they can draw fluids from the lenses of the eye. This loss of fluid can lead to blurred vision.
  8. Skin that becomes dry and itchy.
  9. Patchy darkening of the skin. Some cases of diabetes will develop patches of dark and sometime velvety skin in the creases and folds of the body such as the neck and armpits. This symptom is referred to as acanthosis nigricans and my indicate insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic state related to type 2 diabetes.

These symptoms of diabetes mellitus develop because the body is either resistant to insulin or not producing insulin in sufficient amounts. It is important to contact your doctor if any of these symptoms of diabetes mellitus are noticed to avoid serious health complications.

(1) Wikipedia (2010). Diabetes mellitus. Retrieved from

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