What are the symptoms of different types of diabetes? Check out!

When the body does not produce enough quantities or is not able to properly use the hormone insulin, blood sugar (glucose) levels are high, characterizing diabetes .

According to the Brazilian Diabetes Society (SBD), more than 14 million people suffer from the disease in Brazil alone.

In addition to the alarming number, SBD also points out that about half of these people do not know about the condition – often due to the difficulty in perceiving or recognizing symptoms that can be mild and mild, but also quite uncomfortable.

There are 3 most common types of diabetes – type 1, type 2 and gestational -, all of which have very similar symptoms and which tend to be quickly alleviated with the start of treatment.

In isolation, the signs may not always lead to diabetes, but after the diagnosis, the patient begins to realize that the dysfunction of the hormone insulin already gave evidence.


Symptoms of type 1 and 2 diabetes

Patients may have very similar symptoms in type 1 diabetes (more common in children) and 2 (more common in adults and obese people), because in both of them there is an increase in blood glucose levels ( blood glucose concentration).

It is important to remember that sometimes the patient may just not produce enough insulin or, at other times, not produce any amount at all, causing the symptoms to vary in intensity.

Both types can occur:

Excess urine

Too much pee and frequent trips to the bathroom are one of the main signs of diabetes. To understand why the bladder works more, it is worth knowing or remembering how the organism works:

When carbohydrate (sugar) enters the body, the pancreas produces and releases insulin in response to an increase in blood glucose. The regulating hormone will help this sugar that is circulating in the blood to enter the cells and generate energy for the body.

However, in patients with diabetes, insulin does not act correctly or is not produced to make this glucose uptake. That is, all or part of the sugar consumed is circulating in the blood.

On the other hand, the kidneys have the function of filtering the blood, eliminating impurities. As there is an excess of sugar in the blood, the kidney work becomes more intense and overloaded, and it is necessary to eliminate all this collection of impurities.

Thus, it is through the urine that all of them will be eliminated, but with so much sugar circulating, the concentration of the pee becomes much more dense. Therefore, the kidneys begin to dilute more that will be eliminated. That is, he needs to get more fluid from the body.

This increases visits to the bathroom – signaling one of the main signs of diabetes – and, at the same time, puts the body in a situation of dehydration. Thus, the patient begins to feel more thirsty.

It increases the water intake and, consequently, it increases the urge to pee even more.

Exaggerated thirst

Very thirst. But really thirsty. Diabetes patients will usually drink a lot of water, and even then, the feeling of dry mouth will not be alleviated.

The symptom is an attempt by the body to eliminate sugar from the blood through the urine. This symptom, very characteristic of the disease, forms a cycle with the urge to pee, because the more water you drink, the more you go to the bathroom.

Sometimes, the body still produces some amount of insulin, which makes the blood glucose not rise so much and the water intake is not so intense. But, especially in type 1, episodes of insatiable thirst are quite intense.

In fact, children and the elderly more often have urinary incontinence – which can also occur in adults. This is because the consumption of liquids is so great that there is no time for the bladder to signal the urgency to pee. Then, accidents can happen.

Excessive hunger

Even if you eat only a few hours (or less) of a fortified meal, the body begins to show signs of hunger.

This is because glucose needs to enter cells to produce energy, acting as a signal that everything is working well.

However, without insulin to carry sugar into the cell, the body understands that there is a lack of nutrients needed to perform its functions.

Since this energy comes from meals, you need to send hunger signals as an alert.

Another possible reason for hunger is hypoglycemia . If the person goes for many hours without eating or if he or she practices a very intense activity, it is possible that the blood sugar supply drops dramatically, configuring an episode of hypoglycemia.

In this case, the body is effectively without glucose and, to replace it, it needs to have food intake. Thus, hunger is a warning sign that the body receives.

Weight loss

There was no change in diet or physical activity – or if there was, it was an increase in food intake – and even so the weight starts to decrease. Generally, weight loss is rapid and accentuated, especially in type 1 diabetes.

Again, it is the fault of the glucose that does not enter the cells. As the body needs to continue maintaining the functions of the system, other sources of energy are beginning to be used, for example fat and proteins .

That is, both fatty and lean tissues (muscles) are consumed, generating a very harmful weight reduction.

Excessive tiredness and drowsiness

Without cells capable of producing energy, all activity becomes more difficult. As proteins begin to be used for energy, strength and endurance can be reduced.

It is also necessary to remember that with the excessive production of urine, the body becomes dehydrated and the feeling of tiredness is even greater.

In addition, sleep can present itself more intensely in the patient, usually when blood glucose is considerably high (right after meals, for example). There are episodes in which drowsiness is extreme, affecting productivity intensely.

Skin patches (diabetic dermopathy)

Skin blemishes or darkening may occur, especially in the groin, armpits and feet. These changes are caused by the thickening of the most superficial blood vessels, due to different mechanisms (alteration of the production of proteins in the blood vessel wall and collagen, for example) causing the region to become dark.

Itching and sensitive skin

The first aspect that can trigger itchy skin of the patient with diabetes is dehydration. As there is an excessive loss of urine, the body eliminates fluids and the tissues are affected.

Without water, the skin is dry and fragile, favoring itching, irritation and flaking.

Another factor is that excess sugar can reduce or interfere with the cell production of keratinocytes, which are abundant skin cells. With this reduction, the tissue becomes fragile, thin and sensitive, favoring itching and irritation.

Vision changes

The person may perceive a difficulty in seeing correctly, which is usually variable. This means that, on days when blood glucose is higher, vision gets worse, and may improve in the following days.

This is because excess blood sugar affects the structure of the eyes, changing the shape of the lens (one of the layers of the eyes). As flexibility is impaired, the ability of vision to focus and stay sharp is impaired, resulting in blurred and blurry images. Over the years, untreated diabetes can lead to blindness.

Difficulty healing

Since the difficulty in healing is not a very evident sign, patients usually only associate this factor with diabetes after the diagnosis is made or when there is a large lesion involvement (for example, a small wound that has worsened due to lack of healing) .

Excessive sugar in the blood affects the blood vessels, especially the feet, and promotes a decrease in the supply of cells at the ends of the body. When sores happen, even if small, there are less white blood cells reaching them.

These globules are responsible for healing the region, so simple cuts and injuries can take weeks to improve – which also increases the risk of infections.

Pains and tingles

The legs and feet are greatly affected by the excess of sugar circulating in the blood, as important cells in the skin and blood vessels begin to be produced in lesser quantities.

Just as the skin becomes more dry and fragile, the blood vessel wall becomes more rigid and contracted, causing circulation to be affected.

Without the proper amount of blood reaching the limbs (especially the feet), the result is that cramps, joint pain and tingling occur more intensely.

Mood changes

Constant and intense mood swings usually accompany the symptoms of diabetes.

It is necessary to consider that there are multiple factors involved in the changes and that they are not always simple to control.

In addition to lethargy, caused by tiredness and drowsiness, the patient may experience peaks of intense irritability that can be caused by episodes of hypoglycemia.

In addition, several dysfunctions are occurring in the body, causing malaise, which in itself can generate tiredness and emotional sensitivity.


The condition is more common in people with type 1 diabetes, but it can occur in type 2 as well. Ketoacidosis is marked by manifestations of nausea, vomiting, mental confusion, changes in breathing and a characteristic smell of acetone in the mouth.

The process occurs because the body is trying to obtain energy from other sources – since glucose cannot get into cells – and, for this, proteins and fats are used.

Although it seems a good alternative to resort to other options, this substitution releases a large amount of acids, called keto acids.

Typically, the condition occurs when blood glucose remains in the range of 500mg / dl or longer for a long time. The value represents the amount (concentration) of sugar that is circulating in the blood, and the ideal is to keep it at values ​​up to 180mg / dl after meals and below 100mg / dl after fasting for 8 hours.

In addition to the characteristic smell of acetone on the breath, the patient may experience nausea, vomiting and accelerated weight loss.


High concentrations of sugar in the blood affect the patient’s immunity and may favor infections, as the body is weakened and causes the fight against infectious agents to be harmed.

It is quite common for folliculitis (infection of the follicles) and nail infection to occur frequently.

Another factor that affects the increase in infections is that the skin, which is weakened, may take longer to recover from cuts and bruises. As the wounds stay open longer, the risk of contamination by other bacteria or agents is greater.

Symptoms of gestational diabetes

During pregnancy, the pregnant woman may develop elevated glycemic conditions because the placenta produces substances capable of inhibiting the action of the hormone insulin, characterizing gestational diabetes .

Generally, the patient is monitored during pregnancy to avoid risks to the baby, and the condition gradually returns to normal after delivery. But it is always necessary to reinforce care throughout life.

Symptoms of gestational diabetes are usually milder and milder than those of type 1 or 2, with many women not even showing symptoms.

When it occurs, there is most often an increase in thirst, more urge to pee, tiredness and exaggerated drowsiness.

Prenatal medical follow-up and tests are essential because the symptoms and signs of gestational diabetes, in most cases, occur only when there is a severe increase in blood glucose.

Symptoms of pre-diabetes

When blood sugar levels are higher than adequate, but do not yet characterize type 2 diabetes, the patient is classified into a pre-diabetes stage.

Tests of up to 99mg / dl of glycemia in fasting of 8 hours are considered normal. Between 100mg / dl and 125mg / dl, the patient must start monitoring and adopt changes in routine and diet.

Although it can manifest common symptoms of diabetes, such as thirst and excess of urine, the vast majority of patients have no symptoms, making the diagnosis, many times, longer.

It is worth remembering that pre-diabetes occurs only in type 2 of the disease and, if properly treated and monitored, can be reversed, preventing the condition from evolving.

Symptoms after diagnosis

Even patients who have been diagnosed and undergo constant monitoring will suffer from some variation in blood glucose throughout their lives.

This is because glycemic rates are very fluctuating and depend on factors such as diet, physical activities, the use of other medications and emotional aspects.

It must be remembered that episodes of hyperglycemia (increase in blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (drop in blood sugar) can occur and are corrected in a timely manner.

When these situations are constant, it is necessary to evaluate the treatment or habits, adjusting doses of medications or making a better glycemic control.

Although there may be differences for each person, some manifestations are quite common in hypos or hyperglycemia.

It is important to know (and know how to recognize) the most common symptoms, considering that the sensitivity levels may vary – that is, never forget your glucometer device!


When sugar falls too much in the blood, a series of symptoms and signs can manifest, such as:

  • Irritation;
  • Mental confusion;
  • Cold sweat;
  • Intense heat;
  • Tremors;
  • Dizziness;
  • Pale skin;
  • Hunger;
  • Palpitation (racing heart);
  • Difficulty concentrating;
  • Tingling in the mouth;
  • Difficulty speaking.

Symptoms may begin when blood glucose is below 70mg / dl, but sensitivity is variable. There are patients who show symptoms only at extremely low levels, close to 40mg / dl.

If hypoglycemia gets worse, fainting and seizures can occur.


When sugar rises too high and there is no correction with insulin or medication, the body may show signs of:

  • Sleep;
  • Slowness;
  • Intense thirst;
  • Excessive urine;
  • Vision difficulties (blurred vision);
  • Headache;
  • Malaise.

After correction and reduction of the glycemic rate, symptoms usually improve quickly, but depending on the patient’s sensitivity, there may be “remnants” of hyperglycemia. That is, feelings of malaise, tiredness or slowness for a few hours, until the organism recovers.

The symptoms of diabetes can be quite mild and, at times, delay the diagnosis.

It is important to be aware of the organism’s signs and to know how to recognize changes, which can occur slowly, but also suddenly.

For those who are diagnosed with diabetes, it is necessary to maintain the treatment properly and monitor glycemic rates, always paying attention to the body’s signals.

More tips on diabetes care and other diseases can be found in the Healthy Minute!