Type-2 diabetes is the most widespread kind. Its onset may be delayed or avoided by adopting a healthy lifestyle (healthy nutrition, physical exercise and weight watching). Type-1 diabetes, on the other hand, cannot be prevented.

Symptoms of Type-1 diabetes

In Type-1 diabetes, insulin is not produced in sufficient quantity to regulate the levels of sugar in the blood.

The excess glucose in the blood will therefore be eliminated through the kidneys (large quantities of urine).

The resulting loss of water creates a strong desire to drink (thirst) and the cells deprived of glucose get energy from fat tissue (loss of weight). 

As Type-1 diabetes is caused by auto-immune destruction of the pancreatic cells, the ceasing of insulin production is often sudden and the symptoms appear with equal suddenness

  • large quantities of urine (polyuria)
  • feeling of thirst (polydipsia)
  • constant hunger
  • loss of weight
  • sight impairment
  • fatigue 
  • vomiting and stomach pain (symptoms often confused with influenza)
  • tingling, numbness or lack of sensitivity in the hands or feet
  • frequent infections
  • slow healing of wounds.

Symptoms of Type-2 diabetes

The symptoms of Type-2 diabetes may be the same as those for Type-1 but they are often less severe. 

Type-2 diabetes is in part linked to overweight and a lack of physical activity.

The accumulation of fat makes the body progressively resistant to insulin and the progress of the disease is slower. 

For this reason Type-2 diabetes is often diagnosed by chance when a blood test is done for a different problem.

Sometimes the diagnosis is made when complications appear. It is therefore possible to have diabetes for years without knowing it

If you suspect having diabetes, consult your family doctor.


Sciensano measures the prevalence of diabetes in the population and monitors the quality of care given to diabetic patients with the aim of improving it.

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