Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?

Are you worried that you, your child or someone you know may have diabetes? Having some of the signs and symptoms of diabetes doesn’t mean you definitely have the condition, but you should always contact your GP, just to make sure.

Getting diagnosed and the right treatment are vital, and can reduce the chances of developing serious complications.

During the coronavirus pandemic, it's still really important to see a healthcare professional if you notice any of these signs. They will be able to do a blood test to find out if you have diabetes.

Common symptoms of diabetes

  • Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night.
  • Being really thirsty.
  • Feeling more tired than usual.
  • Losing weight without trying to.
  • Genital itching or thrush.
  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal.
  • Blurred eyesight.

These symptoms can affect anyone - adult or child.

What causes these symptoms?

These symptoms occur because some or all of the glucose stays in the blood, and isn’t being used as fuel for energy. The body tries to reduce blood glucose levels by flushing the excess glucose out of the body in the urine. High levels of glucose being passed in the urine are a perfect breeding ground for the fungal infection which causes thrush. But not everyone gets symptoms. In fact, 6 out of 10 people have no symptoms when they’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

If you ignore the signs of diabetes

It’s hard to ignore the signs of type 1 diabetes because symptoms can often appear quite quickly. But leaving it untreated can lead to serious health problems, including diabetic ketoacidosis, which can result in a potentially fatal coma.

Although the majority of people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in childhood and early adulthood, the symptoms are the same at any age. Adults with type 1 diabetes may not recognise their symptoms as quickly as children, which could mean their diagnosis and treatment may be delayed.

Type 2 diabetes can be easier to miss as it develops more slowly, especially in the early stages when it can be harder to spot the symptoms. But untreated diabetes affects many major organs, including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Being diagnosed early and managing your blood sugar levels can help prevent these complications. Use our Know Your Risk tool to check your risk of type 2 diabetes.

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