Diabetes Symptoms

Table of contents:

Diabetes Symptoms
Diabetes Symptoms

Video: Diabetes Symptoms

Video: Diabetes Symptoms
Video: Diabetes symptoms | Signs of all types of diabetes | Diabetes UK 2023, September

Diabetes: symptoms

The number of undiagnosed diseases in type 2 diabetes is high. One reason: the metabolic disorder develops slowly and often inconspicuously for those affected. There is a risk that diabetes will only be diagnosed when secondary diseases are already apparent. The first symptoms of chronic hypoglycaemia are easy to miss.

Highly elevated blood sugar levels and metabolic disorders can result in acute complications. These must be dealt with quickly. Early detection, e.g. as part of a preventive check-up, should prevent damage to health in advance.


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  • background
  • What are the symptoms of diabetes?
  • Which acute complications are possible?
  • How is type 2 diabetes detected early?
  • How is type 1 diabetes detected early?
  • Whom can I ask?
  • How are the costs going to be covered?


In type 1 diabetes, the body cannot produce enough insulin; in type 2 diabetes, the insulin cannot act appropriately on the cells. Both of these factors mean that the sugar ingested with food is not sufficiently absorbed from the blood into the cells. There is always too much glucose in the blood (hyperglycaemia), at the same time the sugar utilization of the body cells is disturbed.

More on the topic: Diabetes: What is it?

When the blood sugar level is very high, more glucose is excreted in the urine, accompanied by high levels of urine and thirst. At the same time, the body cells get too little energy because they cannot absorb and use the glucose. Those affected often feel tired and exhausted.

The disturbance in the sugar metabolism can cause loss of appetite, but also food cravings. Although the body gets enough food, people lose weight.

Increased blood sugar over a long period of time also weakens the immune system and the organism becomes more susceptible to infections. Dangerous long-term consequences are also organ impairment through vascular damage: Due to the damage to large vessels, the risk of heart attack, stroke or circulatory disorders of the legs increases (peripheral arterial occlusive disease, PAVK). Damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves is also typical of diabetes. They arise when the small vessels are also damaged due to years of elevated blood sugar levels (microvasculopathy). More on the topic: complications of diabetes.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

In general, the symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are similar and are caused by the high blood sugar level. In type 2 diabetes, the symptoms can often only appear after a long period of illness.

Common symptoms are:

  • constant feeling of thirst,
  • frequent urination (including at night),
  • Loss of appetite or cravings,
  • Weight loss or weight gain,
  • Fatigue,
  • Fatigue,
  • mental problems,
  • decreasing eyesight,
  • Itching,
  • Erectile dysfunction in men,
  • sexual listlessness,
  • Muscle cramps,
  • badly healing wounds,
  • frequent infections and
  • Sensory disturbances (e.g. from pressure or temperature).

Which acute complications are possible?

In addition to the various long-term effects of diabetes, there are also situations that can become acute problems:

Diabetic ketoacidosis

The body's cells depend on glucose for energy. In the case of diabetes or insulin deficiency, however, the absorption of sugar into the cells is disturbed; the cells therefore have to switch their metabolism to other energy sources. First, the body's own reserves, the glucose stores, are emptied. After that, the fat reserves are used to gain energy, that is, the body begins to metabolize triglycerides and amino acids. This creates so-called ketone bodies, some of which can be used by the cells as an energy supplier.

If there is a permanent insulin deficiency, however, such a large amount of ketone bodies accumulates that it can lead to a serious metabolic derailment: The ketone bodies cause over-acidification of the blood (metabolic acidosis), which can lead to unconsciousness and be life-threatening.

Diabetic ketoacidosis primarily affects patients with type 1 diabetes. However, it can also occur in patients with type 2 diabetes. The risk of diabetic ketoacidosis always arises when the insulin reserves are completely used up or when the need for insulin is increased over a long period of time. Examples of such situations are feverish infections, prolonged stressful situations or forgetting or omitting the insulin injections. In some cases, ketoacidosis is even the first symptom of diabetes, and those affected were unaware of the disease before that.

The onset of ketoacidosis manifests itself in abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, strong thirst, tiredness and drowsiness and possibly a pungent bad breath (such as rotten fruit or nail polish remover). A blood glucose meter or special urine test strips can be used to check the presence of ketoacidosis and act accordingly (e.g. by quickly administering the appropriate amount of insulin). In the event of any uncertainty, medical help should be sought immediately!

Danger! An impending coma is an acutely life-threatening situation. Those affected must be treated medically immediately! Emergency telephone number : 144

Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)

Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) is also particularly important for people with type 1 diabetes. However, it can generally occur in all diabetes patients who are treated with insulin or insulinotropic drugs (which increase insulin release) or with oral anti-diabetic drugs. More on the topic: Drug therapy for diabetes.

If, for example, a meal is skipped unplanned, too much insulin injected or unusually intense exercise, this can lead to hypoglycaemia. Drinking alcohol in large quantities is also problematic because alcohol inhibits the formation of new sugar in the liver. The brain is particularly sensitive to a lack of glucose. If the blood sugar drops too much, it is no longer supplied with sufficient energy. If there is no timely therapy, irreversible brain damage must be expected.

Signs of hypoglycaemia include a fast pulse, sweating, sudden headache, weak knees, tremors, difficulty concentrating, or confusion. It is important to take countermeasures immediately and eat something sugary, such as a piece of glucose. Otherwise the hypoglycaemia can lead to unconsciousness. Treatment then consists of injecting glucagon, the physiological antagonist of insulin. Diabetes patients may need to carry a glucagon syringe set with them in case of emergency; family members, colleagues and other people in the immediate vicinity of the person concerned must be trained in how to handle the emergency injections.

How is type 2 diabetes detected early?

Especially at the beginning of the disease, those affected often have no symptoms or they are easily overlooked. The increased blood sugar levels are not infrequently noticed by chance during blood tests.

An increased risk of diabetes or precursors of the disease should be recognized in good time through early detection. This is the only way to avoid damage to health and secondary diseases.

The Austrian Diabetes Society recommends taking blood sugar measurements every three years for women and men over the age of 45 as part of the preventive medical check-up, with the determination of the fasting glucose or HbA1c for early diagnosis of diabetes. If risk factors are present, regular blood sugar tests are recommended at a younger age and at shorter intervals. The main risk factors include obesity, lack of exercise, first-degree relatives with diabetes, high blood pressure or elevated blood lipid levels (hyperlipidemia); more about this: prevention of diabetes.

If you are affected by one or more of these risk factors, or if you suffer from symptoms or symptoms that suggest diabetes, clarify these with your doctor.

How is type 1 diabetes detected early?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are attacked by antibodies, which ultimately means that insulin can no longer be produced.

These autoantibodies are present in the blood years before diabetes developed. The risk of dormant type 1 diabetes can therefore be estimated using specific antibody measurements. Such a test may be useful for high-risk patients; in people whose first-degree relatives already had type 1 diabetes, there is an average of around 20 times the risk of developing type 1 diabetes compared to the normal population.

However, the possible development of type 1 diabetes cannot be influenced or prevented. However, early diagnosis - especially when type 1 diabetes first occurs - can avoid dangerous complications, such as severe blood sugar imbalances or a ketoacidotic coma (see above).

Whom can I ask?

The screening program includes examinations for the early detection of type 2 diabetes. You can find doctors in private practice who carry out preventive examinations under Search for a doctor. To clarify symptoms that may indicate diabetes, contact your family doctor, a specialist in internal medicine or a diabetes outpatient clinic in your area.

How are the costs going to be covered?

All necessary and appropriate diagnostic measures are taken over by the health insurance carriers. Basically, your doctor or the outpatient clinic will settle accounts directly with your health insurance provider. With certain health insurance providers, however, you may have to pay a deductible (BVAEB, SVS, SVS, BVAEB). However, you can also use a doctor of your choice (ie doctor without a health insurance contract) or a private outpatient clinic. For certain examinations (e.g. MRI), a doctor's approval may be required. For more information, see Costs and Deductibles. For information on the respective provisions, please contact your health insurance provider, which you can find on the social security website.