Diabetes symptoms

Although they may not always be obvious, some symptoms may be warning signs of diabetes and appear before receiving a diagnosis from a physician. These symptoms can also reappear when your blood sugar levels are not under control and if you have hyperglycemia.

The most common symptoms of diabetes are increased urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger and weight loss.   

These symptoms occur because, when you are hyperglycemic, your kidneys are working at full capacity to eliminate water and dilute excess sugar. This is why people with diabetes urinate more often and in larger amounts. Increased urination also leads to excessive thirst. And finally, since we lose calories when we urinate, people with diabetes may experience sudden and unexplained weight loss. In turn, they feel very hungry. 

Here are some other symptoms:  

  • Fatigue / drowsiness
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Decreased physical endurance 
  • Irritability
  • Tingling / numbness in hands and feet 
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Frequent and recurring infection

Finally, uncontrolled hyperglycemia can lead to major complications such as:  

  • Nerve damage
  • Digestion problems
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Eye problems (even blindness)  
  • Amputation

In short, diabetics do not all react the same way to a blood sugar imbalance. It is important to consult a physician if you have one or more of these symptoms. A blood test can determine if your blood sugar level is too high. 

Prevention and Management of Diabetes: Summary

Unfortunately, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, but lifestyle changes can have a big impact on type 2 diabetes. For example, if you are overweight, losing as little as 7% of your body weight and exercising more (e.g. 30 minutes a day) can lower your chances of developing diabetes by more than 50%. 

To diagnose the disease before it is too late, a blood test is recommended every three years for anyone over the age of 40, especially if you have risk factors such as obesity or a family history of diabetes. 

Self-Monitoring of Blood Sugar

Regularly monitoring blood sugar is an essential part of controlling the disease. The most common way to test blood sugar is with a blood glucose meter, which analyzes a small amount of blood from your fingertip. Your pharmacist affiliated with Accès pharma or a member of their team can show you how to use this device. 


A wide array of pharmaceutical treatments is available for diabetics. In most cases, type 1 diabetes is controlled by insulin injections. For type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels are usually maintained within an acceptable range thanks to medication therapy. In cases where the disease still remains uncontrolled, insulin treatment may be recommended. Whenever a healthcare professional adjusts your treatment, make sure to pay close attention to your blood sugar levels. In case of any adverse side effects, such as hypoglycemia, contact your pharmacist immediately in order to have your treatment adapted accordingly. 

Over-the-counter medications and natural health products may not be suitable for diabetics, or they may interfere with their medication. There are, however, certain products specifically tailored to the needs of diabetics, such as candy or syrups with no sugar added. Before using any new products, always consult your pharmacist, who will gladly advise you. 

In short, the key to success when it comes to controlling one's diabetes is based on two key elements: adopting healthy life habits and self-monitoring blood sugar levels.

To see if your treatment is effective, your doctor may ask you to take a glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test a few times a year. This test measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months. 

Finally, you will regularly have your cholesterol and blood pressure measured and your feet, eyes and kidneys examined in order to prevent any complications. 

Please note that you can take a blood glucose test at the pharmacy to find out your blood sugar level. But only blood tests that are sent to a laboratory can give you an accurate and reliable diagnosis.  

If you think that you have symptoms of diabetes, ask your pharmacist affiliated with Accès pharma or your doctor for advice. 

This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and pharmacist-owners affiliated with Accès pharma cannot be held responsible for this information. The information was true and accurate at the time of publication, but it is subject to change.

Frequently asked questions

You got more questions?

  • Here are some tips:

    • Choose quality carbohydrates
    • Monitor portion sizes
    • Include lean proteins
    • Choose healthy fats
    • Favor dietary fibers
    • Distribute meals throughout the day
    • Monitor your dietary reactions
    • Avoid drastic diets
    • Collaborate with a healthcare professional

    For more information, come see us!

    Make an appointment

  • Think you may have diabetes? First symptoms can appear suddenly (type 1) or progressively (type 2).

    Type 1 diabetes symptoms

    • frequent urge to urinate

    • abundant urine

    • excessive thirst

    • excessive appetite and weight loss

    • visual impairment

    • significant fatigue

    Type 2 diabetes symptoms

    • frequent urge to urinate

    • excessive thirst

    • slowed healing of wounds

    • fatigue

    • blurred vision

    • recurring infections

    Want to have your blood glucose tested?

    Book an appointment

  • A blood glucose test serves to capture a moment in a larger context: it instantly shows how high your blood glucose level is. Going forward, close and regular monitoring will allow you to understand the impact had by your activities, diet, medication and state of health — in other words, your entire lifestyle.

    With careful monitoring, we can help you to adapt your lifestyle and medication in order to best control your blood glucose.

    Want a professional screening?

    Book an appointment

  • There are three main types of diabetes screening tests: fasting blood glucose tests, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) tests, and oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT).

    For monitoring tests, there's self-monitoring of blood glucose, measurement of HbA1c, and tests for kidney and lipid function.

    For more information, come see us!

    Make an appointment

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Diabetes types

There are different types of diabetes that affect people in very different ways. But no matter the type, diabetes always causes high blood sugar.

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