The symptoms of diabetes can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms and signs at the onset of diabetes?

Share your story and provide what normal symtopms you faced before you got diagnosed.

I was having surgery and prep lab work showed it. I had been thirsty but it had been 90 degrees out working in a very large garden so being thirsty was expected. I had no previous symptoms. It has been 25years nancy

I was overweight all my life while my mom developed diabetes. T2 first which went to T1. I developed T2 in 2005. Tired, didn’t exercise but started getting tested due to family history. Then was retested and had T2 diabetes. Been diabetic for 12 yrs

Very high blood pressure led to some blood work being done that showed an A1c of 8.5.

It was 1970. I was a happy, healthy little girl who ran around like crazy and was outside playing all the time. In a week, I went from that happy, healthy little girl to almost dying.
I had all the classic symptoms. Drinking, peeing, weight loss, sleeping all the time. It happened fast and my parents knew something was wrong. They called our family doctor and told him what was happening. He asked us to do a fasting glucose test at the lab the next morning. I’m sure he knew what was happening. We were told, if we didn’t hear from anyone that Friday, to come in first thing on Monday. Well, my parents got no call and we went through another two days. This is how I discovered my intense dislike for high blood sugars. I will do anything to avoid that high feeling! We went to my cousins birthday party that Saturday and all I could do was sleep. Everyone could see something was very, very wrong and my Mom in tears told everyone about the doctor call and the lab work and the appointment on that Monday.
Monday rolled around, I almost couldn’t walk. My Mom asked a neighbor to drive us to the doctor so she could sit in back with me. My Mom had to carry me into the doctors office and when I was called back, she went to get the doctor to help get me back to the exam room. He came out, took one look at me and told my Mom to get me to the ER right now, he would call to tell them we were coming. Between doctors office and hospital I went into a coma. I did that in and out of consciousness. Scared my Momto death. It was very touch and go for a few hours but the miracle of insulin, in about 8 hours I was back to my old self. My aunt and uncle when they came to visit that evening, thought they were coming to see me for the last time. Couldn’t believe how great I looked.
That last weekend of hell was due to a mistake at the lab. And it was a turning point for my whole family to always trust your instincts. Back than doctors were to be trusted and never second guessed and while our family doctor knew what was happening, there was no follow up to the lab test. That was elevated but someone thought because I was a child, I probably wasn’t really fasting. Almost cost me my life. And I am a firm believer of, if you don’t trust the results you got, ask for another. Or if you don’t think the diagnosis is correct ask for a second opinion.
Not sure what happened to that person in the lab, but I sure hope something happened to them.
So long story now shortened, all the classic symptoms that they always list for diabetes with death almost the end result. And mine was fast, very very fast.


My story is similar, but a few years earlier, and symptoms did not get that severe. My mom called Dr on Friday, but not able to get appt until monday. No lab blood test ordered. I was tired all the time, was losing weight (despite eating, drinking more than normal, peeing more freq), not normal for a 5 year old. Mom thought maybe UTI, but also had suspicion worse, and thought after describing symptoms, the doctor would have seen me right away on Friday.

On Monday, I saw the doctor, he smelled my breath, and told my mom to take me directly to the hospital. He called in orders for my admission. No ER.

It was over 50 years ago, but the memory of my mom’s trembling voice when she called my dad from the doctors office is still very clear.

And for some reason, I remember a very long ride up an elevator in the hospital, wondering when we would get out. May have been my first elevator ride.

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I was 30 years old and attending school to retrain for another career. My first symptom was a new difficulty to learn in the classroom. It had been my habit to sit in the last row of the classroom, but I moved to the front so that I could see the blackboard and perhaps understand better. It didn’t help.

I had lost weight without trying and had an insatiable thirst accompanied by frequent urination. I remember one day riding my bike home from school and being so tired that I only made it a few feet into my house and then just laying down on the floor to rest.

When my eyesight got even blurrier, I went to the doctor’s office and a finger-poke revealed a very high number, I think between 400-500 mg/dL. Looking back, I can remember some symptoms appearing in the last year before my diagnosis. The onset of my diabetes was slow and even though my symptoms were dramatic, I did not go into ketoacidosis. I must have had some small level of residual insulin production.

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I was 9, it was 1970, and all spring and summer I’d been lethargic, sleeping/eating/drinking a lot, peeing the bed and losing weight. As a family we used to watch TV together, and there was a B&W commercial with a woman vacuuming (in high heels, I remember), and she had to stop because she was so tired, and drink water because she was so thirsty, and then step off screen to go pee, and the voice-over ominously said if you were like this, you might have diabetes, so see your doctor. But none of us clued in.

We took one of our many trips back to England that summer, and I couldn’t stop eating. I remember we visited a very proper great-aunt in her big house, and even though we had stopped for a big lunch on the way, when she offered tea, I asked her if I could have bacon and eggs, and my parents shushed me up.

It wasn’t until my big brother dislocated his shoulder in December that my father took the two of us to the doctor and I was finally diagnosed. As soon as the doctor said “diabetes” I burst into tears, even though I really didn’t have a clue what it meant – beyond some vague association with vacuuming in high heels.

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My story is similar to the other childhood diagnoses described this thread. Over the span of a couple of weeks I went from healthy and active to something definitely being wrong. I was diagnosed in early October and I don’t remember any symptoms at all over the summer break. I was diagnosed at age nine in 1991, so not as long ago as others here.

My mom noticed that I would drink enormous amounts of water at supper and had no idea what was going on but made a doctor’s appointment for the following week to talk about it. At school I was also going out at recess and lunch and sitting listlessly on the swings rather than running around and playing. That Friday I had swimming lessons but got out after a few laps saying that I felt sick to my stomach and too tired to swim. It was at this same lesson that my mom noticed I’d lost a lot of weight. I spent most of the weekend on the couch with what we thought was maybe the flu. On Monday I felt well enough to go to school, but on Tuesday my mom picked me up mid-morning to go to our appointment.

What I remember most clearly from those pre-diagnosis weeks is how thirsty I was. It pales in comparison even to the thirst I experience with highs today. I remember feeling like it was torture when I was at a friend’s house, asked for a drink, and was told no because I’d just had one five minutes earlier. And similarly at school when I asked to get a drink and was denied because I’d just had one five minutes earlier. I remember doing a math problem involving jugs of milk, and all I could think about was wishing I could drink some milk. Or getting up multiple times during the night to pee and leaving the water running extra long after washing my hands so that I could stand on tiptoe and drink repeatedly from my cupped hands (I would’ve drank directly from the tap if I could have reached it).

When we saw the doctor, she knew what the symptoms meant immediately, told my mom and I that I might have diabetes, ant sent us downstairs for blood work. I’d never heard the word diabetes before, and when I asked my mom what it meant, she (not knowing about Type 1) said it just meant I wouldn’t be able to eat sugar. An hour later, my mom got a call from the doctor that my blood sugar was so high I could go into a coma at any time and she needed to take me to emergency immediately.

I’m not sure what my blood sugar level was or whether I was in DKA, although I was very close to DKA if I wasn’t in it already. One of the doctors said that I was lucky I hadn’t been comatose when I came in. I remember having to check ketones every time I used the washroom, wanting to get those down, being woken up in the middle of the night every night to have vitals checked, and horrible blood draws that once nearly made me pass out. The first morning I was starving because they hadn’t let me eat the night before and I dug into my breakfast the moment it arrived. A nurse appeared in my room several minutes later and asked what I was doing and told that from now on I’d have to get a shot before I could eat breakfast, and gave me my first remembered insulin shot, though I have no idea if I’d received one the day before in emergency or after being admitted. My blood sugar was still extremely high, 25-30+ mmol/L, when I was discharged, for some reason (I still have my first logbook so am able to look back and see).

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Lost 20 lbs. Flu like symptoms over a 2 week interval of time. Drank a 2-Liter of 7Up per day because I felt ill and was very thirsty. Eventually lost consciousness. Almost died. T1 age 11.

These symptoms appeared in the year before my dx: Leg cramps at night. Angry mood swings. Mold in the toilet (sugar in urine). Only in retropect, did I learn these were symptoms
Frequent urination was the real sign that I needed to be tested. Dx T2 at age 47.

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I was very thirsty and needed to use the bathroom every 15-20 minutes.
Luckily for me, my diagnosis happened very quickly- maybe 2-3 days. I hadn’t yet begun to lose weight or feel really terrible. I was just incredibly thirsty and always needing the bathroom.

Diagnosed T1 at age 8

I went on an ice water drinking venture hoping to speed up my metabolism. When I did this, the first week I lost 4 pounds. This was just enough to make me want to lose more so, I continued drinking ice water every day. Anywhere from 6 to 10 20oz glasses a day. I didn’t diet but I did change some eating habits also hoping to help my weight loss.
Well 2 1/2 months later I had dropped 44 pounds. I had severe dry mouth so bad that at times was in able to swallow and my throat was dry as well. So, I went to our family doctor because of the dry mouth and quick weight loss. Not to mention the rubbery weak feelings I had in my legs. I was also on a light workout routine. I had a 70 lb weight that I’d curl 20 times and then do 20 overhead lifts and 20 behind the head lifts. Before the doctor visit, I had gotten so weak from muscle loss that I couldn’t curl the same weights but 6 times. I had loss muscle in my arms and it was looking bad overnight.
Needless to say, my results came back with type 2 diabetes. Right now because my GL levels were so highly, 600 at the doctors office. Yes I said 600 and that was scary but my doctors said I had been there and higher than that on any given day. So, I’m on Lantus before bed, two MetForman after dinner and Humalog before meals as needed on a sliding scale.
I’ve had tingly feet,hands and mouth. This is all new for me but I’ve adjusted quickly. My levels stay below 300. My morning fast test is usually on target mostly around 80-90. That’s my story and symptoms.
Have a blessed day.

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I’m about to turn 65 & diabetes runs in my family. Both my parents were diagnosed with T2D in their mid-60s. Between that & my sofa spud lifestyle, I wasn’t really surprised - but it was still a bit of a shock.

Aside from sometimes feeling a bit fogheaded & occasional bouts of what looked like “migraine snow” without the headache over the previous year (I’ve had occasional migraines since I was around 10), I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary until my routine blood work this past December came back with fasting glucose ~400 & A1c = 13.2(!).

Only in retrospect did I realize that I’d been drinking more water than usual since April. No raging thirst or multiple night time bathroom trips, just more water than usual. I usually try to drink more water just before the hot weather hits, so I don’t get heatsick. Most years that tapers off in the fall, but last year it didn’t.

I took myself to the ER & the doc there had me start on glyburide. That & 4 months of avoiding carbs as much as possible got my A1c down to 8.2.

When I first saw my endo in April, he suggested basal insulin & I started using Toujeo. I’m now at 32u/day, my average glucose is hovering around 110-115, & I’ve lost 12 lbs just from knocking off the carbs. Still struggling with pre-breakfast BG near 150, but that sure beats the stuffing out of 400!