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Type 2 diabetes symptoms: The ‘big three’ signs – polyuria, polydipsia and polyphagia

Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health complications when left untreated, so spotting signs of condition is vital. The condition often linked to poor diet, lack of exercise and obesity, causes the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood to become too high, increasing a person’s risk of heart disease, nerve damage and kidney damage.

The symptoms of diabetes can be reduced to three major factors, according to

In the case of type 1 diabetes, these symptoms can develop quickly, but with type 2 diabetes, the symptoms can be subtler and develop slower.

The three big signs, says the site, are polydipsia, polyuria and polyphasic.

Polydipsia is the term given to excessive thirst. The site explains: “We all get thirsty at various times during the day. Adequate daily intake of water (several glasses) is very important as water is essential for many bodily functions, including regulating body temperature and removing waste.

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“However, if you feel thirsty all the time or your thirst is stronger than usual and continues even after you drink, it can be a sign that not all is well inside your body.”

Polyuria is where the body urinates more than usual. The site states: “Polyuria is defined as the frequent passage of large volumes of urine – more than three litres a day compared to the normal daily urine output in adults of about one to two litres.

“It is one of the main symptoms of diabetes (both type 1 and type 2 diabetes) and can lead to severe dehydration, which if left untreated can affect kidney function.”

Polyphagia is the term used to describe excessive hunger. The site explains: “An increase in hunger is usually a response to normal things such as intensive exercise or other strenuous activity, but polyphagia can also be the result of more severe issues such as depression or stress.”


It’s important to note these aren’t the only symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Other symptoms are listed by the NHS as:

  • Feeling very tired
  • Losing weight without trying to
  • Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • Blurred vision

Being aware of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes may also help you be more aware of symptoms.

Certain foods should be limited, such as sugar, fat and salt.

Experts also recommend eating a wide range of foods, including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta, and eating breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

Adults are recommended to do 2.5 hours of activity a week.

And losing weight, if you’re overweight, will not only make it easier for your body to lower your blood sugar level, but can improve your blood pressure and cholesterol. 


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