Diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose. Diabetes of all types can lead to complications in many parts of the body and can increase the overall risk of dying prematurely (1). This article defines and explores diabetes symptoms.

Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (a hormone that regulates blood glucose), or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Raised blood glucose, a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes, may, over time, lead to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. More than 400 million people live with diabetes (1).

As discussed previously, diabetes is broadly classified into two categories; type 1 and type 2. Symptoms of both types are usually similar with slight differences. 

Figure 1: Common symptoms of diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is characterized by deficient insulin production in the body. People with type 1 diabetes require daily administration of insulin to regulate the amount of glucose in their blood. If they do not have access to insulin, they cannot survive (1). Common symptoms include (Figure2) (2) :

Figure 2: Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes which accounts for 90% of all cases of diabetes. It results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. Symptoms may be similar to those of type 1 diabetes but are often less marked or absent. As a result, the disease may go undiagnosed for several years, until complications have already arisen. For many years type 2 diabetes was seen only in adults, but it has begun to occur in children (1). Common symptoms of type-2 diabetes include (Figure 3) (2):

Figure 3: Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Next …

In the next blog you will know the prevalence of diabetes.


1.         World Health Organization. Global report on diabetes. World Health Organization; 2016.

2.         International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas 8th Edition. International Diabetes Federation; 2017.

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