​​​​Early symptoms of diabetes may not be obvious, or there may not be any symptoms at all. Some of the symptoms of diabetes are listed below. You may want to consider seeing your doctor to find out whether you have diabetes if you have some of the following symptoms.

What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?​

  1. Excessive thirst and urination

    Excessive thirst and urination are classic symptoms of diabetes.

    “When you have diabetes, there is too much glucose in your blood. Your kidneys usually filter glucose, but most of the glucose is reabsorbed, so that in those without diabetes, no glucose appears in the urine. But if the blood glucose levels are too high, the kidneys are unable to keep up and excess glucose will appear in the urine,” explains Dr Teh Ming Ming, Senior​ Consultant, at the Department of Endocrinology, Singapore Gen​eral Hospital​ (SGH), a member of the SingHealth​ group.

    Glucose excretion into the urine will also draw out water into the urine. This increases urination and leads to dehydration, with more thirst to compensate for this fluid loss.

  2. Fatigue

    This can be due to many factors. Dehydration as a result of increased urination can cause fatigue. Moreover, the body’s inability to use sugar for energy needs can cause fatigue.

  3. Weight loss

    Uncontrolled diabetes with high blood glucose levels can lead to weight loss. This is because you lose glucose (and therefore calories) through your urine.

  4. ​Blurred vision

    High levels of blood glucose pulls the fluid from the lenses of your eyes. This can affect the ability to focus.

    In addition, uncontrolled diabetes for prolonged periods of time can cause significant damage to th​e re​tina. This in turn can also affect your vision.

  5. Slow-healing sores ​and frequent infections

    High glucose levels can lead to frequent infections and slow-healing wounds.

See previous page to learn about the different types of diabetes and its prevalence in Singapore.

See next page to find out how diabetes is diagnosed.​

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​​Ref: O17