The 3 Most Common Symptoms Of Undiagnosed Diabetes: A Guide

With the increasing ignorance towards the health of individuals, this condition goes undiagnosed. To find out the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes1, read till the end.

With the constant change in the lifestyle of the human population, diseases have also been evolving, and so is the attitude of humans toward them. Diseases that were once classified and attributed to people of old age are now commonly seen in younger individuals.

And the most concerning fact about this is the negligence of humans towards them, leading to grave complications.

One of these diseases, which is currently of global concern, is Diabetes.

But before that, let’s understand what diabetes is.

1. Diabetes

What Is Diabetes? | 2 Minute Guide | Diabetes UK

Before knowing what exactly diabetes is, there is yet another term interchangeably used with diabetes: high blood sugar.

One thing to note is all individuals who have diabetes have high blood sugar levels, but not all individuals with high blood sugar levels have diabetes.

Now the question arises what is blood sugar and what are the normal levels?

2. Blood Sugar

Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose2, is the main form of sugar found in the blood of humans. This is the utmost source of energy and is necessary to carry out functions at the cellular level.

But one thing about the human body is that it can never tolerate anything in excess, even if it plays a significant role in the body’s survival.

Thus, excess sugar is also considered harmful and has serious effects.

The usual fasting blood sugar range is 80 -100 mg/dl.

2.1. Types Of Blood Sugar Levels

If you have ever undertaken a blood sugar test, you must have tried to read the report and found out that it is estimated in three different types of categories.

  • The Fasting Blood Sugar

To determine the fasting blood sugar levels, the individual is supposed to have a long period of fasting; thus, this is conducted after overnight fasting (between 8-10 hours of fasting).

The average value ranges from 80- 100 mg/dl.

Blood sugar Level Chart
  •  Post-Prandial Blood Sugar

Postprandial blood sugar3 means that the sugar levels in the blood are checked post-meal.

The expected value should be less than 140 mg/dl.

 Random Blood Sugar

To determine the value of random blood sugar, the test should be done randomly at any given time of day.

The average value ranges between 70 to 240 mg/dl.

3. Measuring Blood Glucose

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Photo by Kate on Unsplash

It is essential to keep a regular check on blood sugar levels. This helps us to monitor the efficacy of the treatment. 

To measure the sugar levels in the blood, blood has to be withdrawn from the peripheral veins.

The old traditional method is to get a blood test done, but with advancements in technology, easy and fuss-free methods are available as the use of a glucometer.4

The use of a glucometer is widespread these days, and being a portable and small device, it is highly reliable and readily available.

4. Causes of Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic disease meaning that there is a malfunction in converting energy from food to energy at the cellular level.

In a healthy individual, insulin is secreted after a meal. The pancreas produces insulin to maintain the blood sugars.

After the secretion of insulin5, it acts on the cells present in the muscles and other body organs to increase the absorption of glucose, leading to a decrease in the circulating glucose levels in the blood.

The glucose uptake by the cells can be used instantly or stored in the form of glycogen for the future.

But when the body fails to produce insulin or the insulin produced is not in adequate amounts, it leads to diabetes due to the disturbance in the regulation of blood sugar.

Along with knowing the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes6, one should also know the possible risk factors.

5. Risk Factors Of Diabetes

Certain factors predispose a person to develop diabetes in the future. These factors are often termed risk factors and should be noted early to reduce the risk of developing diabetes or, if present then, to control it.

These factors are:

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Image by Ralf Kunze from Pixabay
  1. High Blood Pressure

  2. Sedentary Lifestyle

  3. Smoking

  4. Alcohol 

  5. Constant Elevated Blood Sugar levels 

  6. Obesity

  7. Family History 

  8. Age

  9. Pregnancy 

  10. High Lipid Intake

To get a detailed and complete understanding of the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes, knowing the types of diabetes is also very important.

6. Types Of Diabetes

Diabetes diagnosis and classifying it into the correct category and then seeking a planned treatment from a certified healthcare professional are essential.

This brings us to the question of what are the types of diabetes and the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes.

Diabetes is a broad and vague term often referring to an increase in the glucose level in blood without considering the underlying pathology.

Speaking of types of diabetes, it is broadly classified as Diabetes Mellitus7 (insulin-dependent) and Diabetes Insipidus 8(insulin-independent).

6.1. Diabetes Insipidus

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Photo by Sweet Life on Unsplash

Diabetes Insipidus is a rare phenomenon with no increase in the circulating level of sugars in the blood vessels.

Diabetes Insipidous is caused due to deficiency of the hormone Vasopressin, also known as the anti-diuretic hormone.9

The function of this hormone is to regulate the fluid and electrolyte balance in the body and plays a vital role in the reabsorption of water, thus maintaining the amount of urine as well.

In case of deficiency of this hormone, the urine output is increased, and the individual complains of frequent urination. Thus this sign could be an overlapping symptom, and thus correctly diagnosing diabetes10 and its type plays a crucial role.

6.2. Diabetes Mellitus

Where the increase in the circulating glucose levels in the blood remains constant, this type of diabetes is further classified into:

A. Type 1 diabetes

B. Type 2 Diabetes

C. Gestational Diabetes

  • Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also known as Juvenile diabetes, is caused due to the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin, or even if produced, they are present in insufficient amounts.

As the name suggests, this type of diabetes11 is found in the young age group, with the mean age being around 13 to 14 years. According to WHO, 9 million people around the world have type 1 diabetes.

The inability of the pancreas to produce insulin is due to the destruction caused by the body’s immune system, thus making it an autoimmune disease.

Type 1 diabetes usually has a positive family history and can be diagnosed as early as the early months of life.

Most patients are dependent on direct insulin, which is administered through subcutaneous routes.

  • Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is the most common type of diabetes to be encountered, making it one of the most prevailing types.

The rate at which confirmed cases of diabetes are coming up is alarming and a cause of concern.

Various factors are associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, making it a multifactorial disease.

The typical age of getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is usually after 40 years, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But in some cases, when diabetes gets undiagnosed, one must be aware of the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes.

6.3. Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes, Animation

It is widespread for a female to experience hormonal changes during pregnancy and other discomforts.

While only a few females develop gestational diabetes, others can tolerate these changes well.

The reason for developing gestational diabetes is that the placenta secretes certain hormones that interfere with the cells designed to uptake insulin from the blood vessels.

Females who develop diabetes during the gestation period are at high risk of developing diabetes later in their lives. As per an estimation, 47.6% chance of recurrence of gestational diabetes.

7. 3 Most Common Symptoms Of Undiagnosed Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, anyone and everyone above the age of 45 should get themselves checked for diabetes.

However not everyone is aware of this and is living a life with undiagnosed diabetes.

This makes it very important for us to know the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes.

Early symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes are:

  1. Excessive Urination

  2. Excessive Thirst

  3. Weight Loss

7.1. Excessive Urination

A healthy person urinates about 1 to 2 literss per day. When the amount reaches or exceeds 3 liters, it is considered abnormal.

Increased urination, also known as Polydipsia, is one of the most characteristic traits of uncontrolled diabetes.

When the sugar levels in the blood increase and the insulin is not present in sufficient amounts, the kidneys take over the charge to remove the excess sugar from the blood.

High blood sugar poses a risk; thus, the kidneys try to flush this sugar from the body and urine.

This sugar is accompanied by other essential electrolytes and water from the body and leads to frequent urination.

7.2. Excessive Thirst

Another characteristic feature of undiagnosed diabetes is increased thirst. This is also one of the early warning signs and should not be ignored.

The feeling of a dry mouth accompanied by excessive thirst is among the early symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes.

The main reason behind this is frequent urination. When there is frequent urination, there is a loss of a large amount of water from the body. The body needs water in large amounts to compensate for this,  leading to increased thirst.

7.3. Weight Loss

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Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash

Unexplained weight loss is one of the symptoms of the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes.

When there is a lack of insulin in the body, the cells starve for energy as the blood sugars are not converted into glucose which can readily be used by the cells.

The body then searches for a different source of energy to fulfill its needs and ends up using stored energy from the muscle and fat cells. This leads to weight loss.

Also, the constant load on the kidneys to clear the excess sugar increases the energy demand and ends up burning the fuel present in the cells.

Along with the above-mentioned symptoms, other symptoms of diabetes include:

  1. Extreme Fatigue

  2. Blurred Vision

  3. Slow healing of wounds

  4. Diabetic Retinopathy

  5. Dark Patches around the neck

  6. Burning Sensation

  7. Polyphagia

  8. Yeast Infections

Along with knowing the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes, one must be aware of the common complications of diabetes.

8. Complications Of Diabetes

8.1. Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis is one of the serious complications of diabetes. When the body faces a lack of insulin, it uses ketones to meet the body’s metabolic needs and ends up producing acids in the body.

8.2. Diabetic Foot Ulcer

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Photo by Imani Bahati on Unsplash

Impaired sensation makes it difficult for diabetic people to recognize even a small cut. These cuts usually turn into foot ulcers, and high blood sugar levels can lead to diabetic foot ulcers and foot gangrene, leading to amputation in extreme cases.

8.3. Kidney Diseases

The kidneys are the central filter system of the body, and a lack of insulin means they have to work overtime to maintain the sugar levels in the blood. This can lead to kidney disease and eventually to high blood pressure.

Research says that there is 30 percent patient of type 1 diabetes face kidney issues while in the case of type 2 diabetes, this number is about 30-40 percent.

8.4. Heart Disease

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Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

The overtime, high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the tiny blood vessels and the nerves that control these vessels leading to heart disease.

Also, high blood pressure creates an extra workload on the heart and worsens the condition.

9. Conclusion

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of concern for humankind.

With hazardous lifestyle changes and environmental factors, diabetes has now become a household name. Even infants are not spared from this disease.

Diabetes itself is a vague term, and various factors need to be undertaken before designing a treatment plan.

With various symptoms presented, the answer to the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes has very well been given in this article.

With careful observation and regular health checkups, early detection of diabetes is possible. 

The symptoms mentioned above are the most common ones but can vary from person to person. Consulting a medical professional is mandatory.

Along with answering the question of what are the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes, types of diabetes and its complications have also been discussed in this article.


1. Can these symptoms be caused by other conditions too?

A. Yes, many of these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than diabetes. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and evaluation.

2. Should I be concerned if I experience these symptoms?

A. If you experience a combination of these symptoms, especially if they persist, it’s important to see a doctor for proper evaluation. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to managing diabetes effectively.

3. Can diabetes be present without any noticeable symptoms?

A. Yes, sometimes diabetes can be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, especially in the early stages. Regular health check-ups and screenings can help detect diabetes even before symptoms become noticeable.

Read more

  1. Harris, Maureen I., and Richard C. Eastman. “Early detection of undiagnosed diabetes mellitus: a US perspective.” Diabetes/metabolism research and reviews 16.4 (2000): 230-236. ↩︎
  2. Burrin, J. M., and K. G. M. M. Alberti. “What is blood glucose: can it be measured?.” Diabetic medicine 7.3 (1990): 199-206. ↩︎
  3. Madhu, Vinayak, et al. “Mastication frequency and postprandial blood sugar levels in normoglycaemic and dysglycaemic individuals: A cross-sectional comparative study.” Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR 10.7 (2016): OC06. ↩︎
  4. Muktabhant, Benja, et al. “Use of glucometer and fasting blood glucose as screening tools for diabetes mellitus type 2 and glycated haemoglobin as clinical reference in rural community primary care settings of a middle income country.” BMC Public health 12 (2012): 1-9. ↩︎
  5. Park, So Young, Jean-François Gautier, and Suk Chon. “Assessment of insulin secretion and insulin resistance in human.” Diabetes & metabolism journal 45.5 (2021): 641. ↩︎
  6. Ramachandran, Anup. “Know the signs and symptoms of diabetes.” Indian Journal of Medical Research 140.5 (2014): 579-581. ↩︎
  7. Alam, Uazman, et al. “General aspects of diabetes mellitus.” Handbook of clinical neurology 126 (2014): 211-222. ↩︎
  8. Robertson, Gary L. “Diabetes insipidus.” Endocrinology and metabolism clinics of North America 24.3 (1995): 549-572. ↩︎
  9. Nørgaard, J. P., Erling Bjerregaard Pedersen, and J. C. Djurhuus. “Diurnal anti-diuretic-hormone levels in enuretics.” The Journal of urology 134.5 (1985): 1029-1031. ↩︎
  10. Saudek, Christopher D., et al. “A new look at screening and diagnosing diabetes mellitus.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 93.7 (2008): 2447-2453. ↩︎
  11. Katsarou, Anastasia, et al. “Type 1 diabetes mellitus.” Nature reviews Disease primers 3.1 (2017): 1-17. ↩︎

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Diksha Jagwani

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