+1-888-360-0001 8:00AM to 6:00PM EST
For Physicians

Mild, Moderate and Severe Cases of Diabetes: Signs and Symptoms

May 18, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

Diabetes is a long-standing or chronic condition wherein your body fails to either produce any insulin, adequate amounts of it, or the appropriate type of the hormone. 10.5% of the United State’s population have been reported to have diabetes - that makes around 34.2 million people in total.

Clinically, diabetes is diagnosed by a triad of symptoms - polyphagia, polyuria, and polydipsia. The prefix ‘poly’ implies an excess of something. In this case, it translates to an excess of urine, thirst and hunger. Laboratory tests for the condition include oral glucose tests, blood HbA1c tests, and glucose tolerance tests.

Different Kinds of Diabetes

Diabetics are bound by an insufficiency to properly break down glucose, but that’s about it. The disease does not have a key demographic, gender predilection, or geographical limitation. This is because there isn’t one type of diabetes.

Types of diabetes include:

There are several correlating clinical conditions wherein hormone production and glucose uptake are impaired as well. However, these conditions aren’t necessarily termed diabetes.

Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes

There are several differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, these include:

  • Type 1 diabetes develops in childhood and Type 2 develops in adulthood.
  • Type 2 diabetes is linked with obesity whereas Type 1 diabetes is not.
  • Type 2 diabetics might have had normal insulin production and use at some point in their life.
  • Type 1 diabetics are advised diabetic medication whereas Type 2 diabetics are advised medication as well as behavioral modifications.


Diabetes is characterized as an increase in the amount of glucose in the body because the hormone insulin fails to properly break it down for uptake. This results in an increased level of glucose in the blood termed hyperglycemia.

Signs of hyperglycemia are usually detected when blood glucose levels rise above 180-200 mg/dL or 10-11.1 mmol/L. Hyperglycemia manifests as a result of lack of physical activity, improper food choices, and a diabetic not taking their glucose-lowering medication in time.

Hyperglycemia is a significant finding in people with type 2 diabetes. Long-standing diabetics are often unable to properly characterize their symptoms and some may even be asymptomatic.

Mild Hyperglycemia

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urine
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Slight irritability

Moderate Hyperglycemia

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urine
  • Lethargy
  • Blurred Vision
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion

Severe Hyperglycemia

  • Fruity-smelling breath (ketone breath)
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry Mouth
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Coma

The HbA1C Test

HbA1c glycated hemoglobin is a form of hemoglobin that is chemically linked with sugar. Most sugars tend to bond with hemoglobin to a considerable extent. However, glucose is less likely to do so compared to other sugars such as fructose or galactose.

This makes an HbA1c test a characteristic test for diagnosing diabetes. If glucose is in excess in your body, it’ll tend to conjugate with hemoglobin and HbA1c levels will increase.

The test tells you your average level of blood sugar over the past two to three months.

Are you secretly diabetic? Find out with the Hemoglobin A1C Test


  • Normal levels - 4-5.6%
  • Pre-diabetics - 5.7-6.4%
  • Diabetic - +6.5%

When to Consult Your Physician

Diabetes is one of the world’s most common and deadly chronic conditions. Manifestations of the condition go from headaches to comas, and from increased thirst to amputation.

Regular diabetic screening tests are vital and therefore advised by physicians. This is especially important for people either with a family history of diabetes or people who tend to be overweight.

Recommended Tests

Recommended physicians