Type 2 diabetes symptoms: excessive thirst is warning sign of condition


Polydipsia is the medical term for excessive thirst – and it’s a key indicator of type 2 diabetes. The sensation is usually accompanied by temporary or prolonged dryness of the mouth, and drinking a glass or two of water doesn’t satisfy that dehydrated feeling.

The symptoms of polydipsia are recognised as:

  • Having persistent and unexplained thirst, regardless of how much you drink
  • Passing more than five litres of urine a day

Increased thirst for those with type 2 diabetes is the result of high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).

The pancreas (a large gland found behind the stomach) is responsible for producing the hormone insulin which, in turn, controls the amount of glucose (sugar) is in the blood.

Extra glucose that isn’t used by the cells will be converted and stored as fat.

With around 4.7 million people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes, as reported by Diabetes UK, this illness has become a huge problem in society.

If diabetes isn’t managed correctly, it can lead to other health problems with the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys.

Being diagnosed early and controlling blood sugar levels can help prevent these complications.

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Aside from excessive thirst, other initial symptoms of diabetes are:

  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Polyuria (frequent urination)
  • Dizziness
  • Slow healing
  • Genital itchiness
  • Weight loss
  • Polyphagia (excessive hunger)

Most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will need medication to manage the condition.

People are entitled to free prescriptions for their diabetes medicine. To claim for free prescriptions, you’ll need to apply for an exemption certificate.

To do this, the NHS instructs people to fill in a form at your GP surgery. The exemption certificate should arrive in the post about a week later – and will last for up to five years.

Show this certificate at the pharmacy when you go to collect your diabetes medication. Save any receipts if you’ve already paid for diabetes medicine before the exemption certificate arrives, as you can claim the money back.



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