Symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Written by

Lauren Dobischok
2 February, 2022

Medically checked article All HOMED-IQ content is reviewed by medical specialists

Diabetes is a very common condition in which your body does not produce enough insulin to maintain a stable blood sugar level. When your blood sugar is too high, insulin is the hormone that eliminates sugar (glucose) from your bloodstream. The energy is subsequently used to power your cells. In this article, we want to highlight the symptoms of diabetes type 1 and 2, and why it may be useful to do a blood sugar test from home.

The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

The key distinction between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is that type 1 is a genetic disorder, which mostly begins to show symptoms in early life. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, develops over time and is diet-related. If you are diagnosed with diabetes type 1, your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your body that produce insulin. With type 2, your body still produces a low quantity of insulin. However, the amount of insulin is not sufficient enough to cope with high blood sugar levels caused by an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. People with type 2 diabetes sometimes also suffer from insulin resistance, which means their pancreas produces insulin, but their body does not recognise it (DiabetesUK, 2024).

Common symptoms of diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes are less obvious than one might expect. A lot of people do not even know that they have diabetes. Feeling more tired than usual is, for example, a common symptom. However, people attribute this to having a “hard week” or that they slept badly. Next to being tired, other symptoms include:

  • Increased hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Increase urination
  • Genital itching
  • Longer healing process of cuts and wounds
  • Blurred eyesight

It is important to point out that every individual is different, and therefore, not everyone experiences the same symptoms. However, the most common symptoms are increased urination, increased thirst, losing weight and feeling tired.

What causes symptoms of diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes occur when some or all glucose stays in your bloodstream, instead of being used as a source of energy. In this case, the body aims to lower blood glucose levels by moving the excess glucose out of the body into urine. The consequence of this is also increased levels of thirst and urination. Due to the increased visits to the toilet, the genitals can become a perfect breeding ground for a fungal infection that can cause thrush. But again, not everyone has the same symptoms.

Diabetes can be difficult to recognize

Even though most people suffering from type 1 diabetes are diagnosed with it in their childhood or early adulthood, the symptoms are the same at any stage of life. Adults with type 1 diabetes might not recognise their symptoms as soon as children, delaying diagnosis and treatment.

Because type 2 diabetes develops more slowly, it is easier to overlook, especially in the early stages when symptoms are more difficult to detect. However, uncontrolled diabetes can harm your heart, eyes, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys, among other key organs. These consequences can be avoided if you identify the problem early and manage your blood sugar levels. One way to do so is by using a Homed-IQ home blood sugar test.

Is there a cure for diabetes?

No, unfortunately, there is no cure for either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. However, science and technology have made it possible with diabetes to live a comfortable life with very little restrictions. There are ways to treat and live with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. For treating type 1 diabetes, it is important to:

  • Maintain a balanced and healthy diet
  • Monitor your blood sugar
  • Exercise
  • Take insulin when needed

Unlike type 1 diabetes, patients with type 2 luckily are mostly not dependent on taking insulin because their body still produces a small quantity of it. While there are medications on the market that help lower the blood sugar, the key ways of treating type 2 diabetes are:

  • Blood glucose monitoring
  • A balanced and healthy diet
  • Weight loss
  • Exercise

How to lower your risk of diabetes

Since type 1 diabetes is genetic, there is no possibility of lowering the risk of getting it. Type 2 diabetes, however, is preventable. Some ways of lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Maintain a low alcohol consumption
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise regularly and track your weight management
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Increase your fibre intake

In case you notice any symptoms of diabetes, make sure to get tested as soon as possible.


Community Access Network. (2019, May 11). 10 Facts About Diabetes. Retrieved 8 March 2022, from https://www.communityaccessnetwork.org/10-facts-about-diabetes/

Diabetes UK. (n.d.-a). Is there a cure for diabetes? Retrieved 8 March 2022, from https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/is-there-a-cure

Diabetes UK. (n.d.-b). What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes? Retrieved 8 March 2022, from https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/diabetes-symptomsLife Line Screening. (2022, February 10). What’s the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes? Retrieved 8 March 2022, from https://www.lifelinescreening.com/health-education/diabetes/type-1-type-2-diabetes?sourcecd=WNAT010

About the author

Lauren Dobischok

Lauren is a health scientist and science communicator currently living in the Netherlands. Originally from Canada, she completed a Research Master’s in Health Sciences at the Netherlands Institute of Health Sciences at Erasmus University Rotterdam (NIHES) with a specialisation in epidemiology. Prior to her master’s degree, she completed a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. With a background in public health, her goal is to create accurate scientific content that is easy to understand and empowers people to make informed decisions. Within Homed-IQ, Lauren works as a Product Developer and Content Lead, working closely with physicians and scientists on medical devices for Homed-IQ’s new products and written communications.