Diabetes symptoms: Experts warn of the 4Ts that indicate high blood sugar

Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks

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Alternatively named, the four T’s, high blood sugar specialists highlight the key words related to symptoms of diabetes: toilet, thirsty, tired, and thinner. Expanding on the first “T” – toilet – you need to consider whether you have been going to the toilet “a lot” lately. Frequently needing the loo is a very common and early warning sign of escalated blood sugar levels.

The next “T” is thirst – are you feeling really thirsty as of late? Such a sign can be really telling when you have no reason to be feeling dehydrated.

Unless you have been working out, or have not been drinking enough fluids each day, there should be no reason why you feel thirsty – unless you do have diabetes.

If you do have high blood sugar, it will feel as though no matter how much you drink, the thirst is unquenchable.

Another “T” to think about is whether you have been feeling “more tired than usual”.

Finally, the fourth “T” requires you to take a look in the mirror – have you been losing weight without trying to?

“The ‘4Ts’ are the most common symptoms in adults, who should equally be aware of the signs of type 1 diabetes,” experts at Diabetes UK said.

“Other symptoms can include infections such as thrush, or blurred


For people with type 1 diabetes, these symptoms come on “very quickly – over a few days or weeks”.

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Experiencing such warning signs of high blood sugar should not be ignored.

As soon as you question whether you have diabetes or not, speak to your doctor and request a blood sugar blood test.

Consistently high blood sugar can lead to a life-threatening complication known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

The NHS explained that DKA occurs when the body starts to run out of insulin.

Without a supply of insulin, the body begins to break down fat for energy, releasing a harmful byproduct of ketones in the process.

The warning signs of DKA include:

  • Needing to pee more than usual
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Being sick
  • Tummy pain
  • Breath that smells fruity (like pear drop sweets, or nail varnish)
  • Deep or fast breathing
  • Feeling very tired or sleepy
  • Confusion
  • Passing out.

People concerned they have DKA are advised to visit their nearest A&E immediately.

This is because hospital treatment is required for DKA, which includes giving insulin intravenously, meaning insulin is inserted via a vein.

Patients will also be given fluids to rehydrate the body and nutrients to replace the ones lost.

“You’ll also be closely monitored for any life-threatening problems that can happen, such as problems with your brain, kidneys or lungs,” the NHS added.

People experiencing DKA can expect to stay in hospital for up to two days.

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