Symptoms of Diabetes



There is a common misconception that all diabetic patients experience symptoms such as excessive thirst and urination. These symptoms typically occur in Type 1 diabetic patients which account for only about 5% of diabetic patients.  


Most Diabetic patients DON'T experience excessive thirst and urination.



Common Symptoms



Type 2 diabetes, which account for about 95% of diabetic patients,is a silent killer. It develops slowly over a period of years. Usually there are no specific symptoms for a long time. Often you get diagnosed incidentally. For example, you go for a routine check up and you are surprised to discover that your blood sugar is in the diabetic range.


Patients sometimes experience non-specific symptoms such as fatigue and usually blame it on getting old. Unfortunately, most patients have developed complications of diabetes by the time they get diagnosed.


Many patients develop tingling and numbness in their feet.


Impotence is a another common complication of diabetes. Often patients see their family doctor or a urologist, who often put them on Viagra without doing any diagnostic testing.


Sometimes a person shows up in the emergency room with a heart attack as the first symptom of Diabetes.



Relatively uncommon Symptoms


Blurry vision


Foggy thinking






Frequent infections


Leg pain upon walking due to poor circulation


Excessive weight loss for no obvious reason


A life-threatening condition known as Diabetic Keto-Acidosis (DKA).

In this condition, a patient may experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, mental confusion, drowsiness and can even lapse into a coma. These patients usually have a fruity smell to their breath.  Patients with DKA are usually Type 1 diabetics, although it can occur in Type 2 diabetics, too.




This article was written by Sarfraz Zaidi, MD, FACE. Dr. Zaidi specializes in Diabetes, photoEndocrinology and Metabolism.



Dr. Zaidi is a former assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA and Director of the Jamila Diabetes and Endocrine Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California.



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