The signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes usually develop quickly, especially in children, over a period of weeks. In babies and young children, the first indication of Type 1 diabetes may be a yeast infection that causes a severe diaper rash that’s far worse than the common red, puffy and tender skin rash. In young children and infants, lethargy, dehydration and abdominal pain also may indicate Type 1 diabetes. Once the systems appear, a blood test will generally reveal very high blood glucose.
Type 2 diabetes can easily be picked up during a routine screening exam and blood test but it can frequently go undiagnosed for years unless a physician draws a blood sample to check the blood glucose. In the early stages of Type 2 diabetes, people experience few to no noticeable signs of the disease. As time goes by and the untreated blood glucose continues to rise, symptoms begin to present themselves.
If you are over 40 years of age or have parents or siblings with diabetes, be sure to have your blood glucose checked routinely.
The most common symptoms of undiagnosed Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are:
- Extreme thirst and a greater need to urinate – As excess glucose (sugar) builds up in the bloodstream, fluid is pulled from the tissues. The loss of fluid makes the person thirsty. As a result, the person may drink and urinate more than usual.
- Frequent hunger – Without enough insulin to move sugar into the cells (Type 1) or insulin resistance prohibiting the insulin from entering the cells (Type 2), the muscles and organs become depleted for energy. This triggers intense hunger.
- Weight loss – Despite eating more than usual to relieve hunger, rapid weight loss sometimes occurs. Without the energy glucose supplies, muscle tissues and fat stores simply shrink. Unexplained weight loss is often one of the first symptoms to be noticed.