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Diabetes and Thirst

Extreme thirst is one of the first symptoms people notice when developing diabetes. That along with having to urinate much more frequently are both caused by too much sugar (glucose) in your blood.

When you have diabetes, your body cannot control sugars from the diet properly. This causes sugar to collect in your bloodstream which in turn forces your kidneys to go into overdrive to get rid of the extra sugar. The kidneys make more urine in an attempt to pass the excess sugar from your body. You will likely urinate far more often and pass a higher volume of urine. Producing this extra urine drains water from your body (water is even pulled from your tissues) to help rid the body of the extra sugar.

This will make you feel excessively thirsty because you’re losing lots of water so your brain will tell you to drink much more fluid in an attempt to remain hydrated. In turn, this triggers yet more urination and the diabetes/urine/thirst cycle will continue if your blood sugar levels are not brought back under control.

Other diabetes symptoms

Excessive thirst and frequent urination can happen in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. You may also have other symptoms which you should be aware of. Both types of diabetes can cause similar symptoms if they’re not treated and controlled, including:

  • dry mouth
  • tiredness and fatigue
  • excess hunger
  • blurry vision
  • slow healing
  • frequent infections
  • mood changes
  • change in weight
  • numbness or tingling in hands or feet
  • acanthosis
  • skin tags
  • skin problems

People with pre-diabetes which leads to type2 diabetes may not have any symptoms for many years or their symptoms may be very mild initially and get worse imperceptibly. Whereas in type 1 diabetes symptoms develop very quickly, in days or (at most) weeks.