What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

The symptoms below are common to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However, people with type 2 diabetes may not show any symptoms.

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination (due to the high blood sugar, which passes through the kidneys to increase volume of urine)
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Feeling very tired
  • Losing weight without trying (people with diabetes are unable to absorb and use the energy from sugar in the blood)

How Is Diabetes Treated?

Changes in your lifestyle, such as increasing physical activity and making healthy eating choices, are the most important ways to treat diabetes, specially type 2 diabetes. Counting the carbohydrates in your food, for example, should become routine as carbohydrates contribute to high blood sugar. Physical activity is essential because muscles that are regularly exercised consume sugar more efficiently than muscles that are inactive. In addition to these lifestyle changes, there are medications available for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

People with diabetes also should keep some candy or sugar drink on hand at all the times in case of a low blood sugar emergency, called hypoglycemia. Talk with your diabetes care team about how to prevent and be prepared for a low blood sugar emergency.

What Are Complications of Diabetes?

People with diabetes are at higher risk of various other conditions (often called complications) due to the damaging effects of the disease on blood vessels. Managing your diabetes is key for preventing or delaying these complications, which include diabetic eye disease such as retinopathy, diabetic kidney disease (nephropathy), diabetic nerve disease (neuropathy), heart attacks and stroke.

The good news is that keeping the blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy and kidney disease. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, can also lower the risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Below are some ways you and your diabetes care team can keep track of your health and watch for complications:

  • Keep your blood glucose levels at ranges as close to normal as possible and monitor them regularly.
  • Get your urine tested at least once a year. The results can be used to check if you may have early kidney disease based on the levels of microalbumin in the urine.
  • Get the following tests on a regular basis:
    • Blood pressure measurement  (on every visit to your provider)
    • Cholesterol and triglyceride levels (at least once a year)
    • Eye and foot exams with a simple nerve function test (called the monofilament test) (at least once a year)

You can make physical activity part of every day. You can create a balanced diet for your child—one that everyone can live with and thrive on. Throughout it all, know that diabetes can’t keep your child from doing whatever they want and achieve their highest goals. There are Olympic athletes with diabetes, as well as professional football players, politicians, actors, rock stars, and CEOs. So, take a deep breath. You can do so much to make sure the people you love are thriving as they manage their diabetes.


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