What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
The main symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes can include:
- Passing urine more often than usual, especially at night
- Increased thirst
- Extreme tiredness and lethargy
- Unexplained weight loss
- Genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
- Blurred vision
- Tingling, pain or numbness in feet, hands or legs
- Sore or burning mouth
In Type 1 diabetes the signs and symptoms are usually very obvious and develop very quickly, typically over a few weeks. The symptoms are quickly relieved once the diabetes is treated and under control.
In Type 2 diabetes the signs and symptoms may not be so obvious, as the condition develops slowly over a period of years. You may therefore be experiencing one or more of these symptoms without associating them with diabetes.
What is the impact of diabetes?
If diabetes is not controlled properly it can lead, longer term, to a number of health complications including increased risk of stroke and heart disease, damage to the retina which could ultimately lead to blindness and it can affect kidney function. It is important to understand where there is a risk of developing diabetes, as action can then be taken to prevent or to reduce the effects of the condition.
The risk factors
Preventable risk factors:
These risk factors can increase your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes but you can take positive action to reduce them.
- Being overweight: Three in five adults in the UK are overweight
- Lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking and alcohol consumption
Non preventable risk factors:
- Age: As we age, the risks of developing diabetes increase, reaching a peak in people aged 65-74. However, a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce the risks
- Ethnic background: If you are from a South Asian background such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, or an African or African Caribbean background you may have a greater risk of developing diabetes
- Family history: If you have a history of diabetes in your family, you may be more at risk of developing diabetes yourself
More info: Diabetes Risk Awareness Service