Skip to Content

Type 2 symptoms

90% of Canadians with diabetes are living with type 2 diabetes. It is a condition in which your body cannot make enough insulin, or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body to control the level of sugar in your blood.

Several different risk factors are associated with the development of Type 2 diabetes. Some of these risk factors can be controlled or managed (like high blood pressure or smoking) while other factors (like ethnicity) can't be changed.

The most common signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include the following:

  • unusual thirst
  • frequent urination
  • weight change (gain or loss)
  • extreme fatigue or lack of energy
  • blurred vision
  • frequent or recurring infections
  • cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • trouble getting or maintaining an erection
  • diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA)


However, some people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may not notice any symptoms.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have type 2 diabetes, contact a medical professional. If left unmanaged, type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications. Take charge of your health by seeking help immediately.

Take the CANRISK test

You can have type 2 diabetes without any obvious warning signs or symptoms. If you think you could be at risk, take the test today—it takes two minutes or less.

Diagnosing type 2 diabetes

Your doctor can test for diabetes one of four ways and they may do a repeat test to confirm the result. In Canada the amount of sugar in your blood is measured in mmol/L. 

Fasting blood glucose test

For this test, you can't eat or drink anything except water for at least eight hours beforehand. A test result of 7.0 mmol/L or greater in your blood indicates diabetes.

Random blood glucose test

This test may be done at any time, regardless of when you last ate. A test result of 11.1 mmol/L or greater, plus symptoms of diabetes, indicates diabetes.

A1C test

This test may be done at any time, regardless of when you last ate. A test result of 6.5 % or greater (in adults) and in the absence of factors that affect the accuracy of the A1C indicates diabetes.

Oral glucose tolerance test

You'll be given a special sweetened drink prior to this blood test. A test result of 11.1 mmol/L or greater taken two hours after having the sweet drink indicates diabetes.

A second test must be done in all cases (except if you have acute signs and symptoms). Once diabetes has been diagnosed, ask your doctor to refer you for diabetes education. Diabetes Canada also has many resources to help you understand diabetes better and live a long and healthy life. Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and managing the disease is not easy. But it is important to know that you can live a long and healthy life by taking a number of steps including keeping your blood sugar levels in target range.

Healthy eating & exercise

Learn the essentials on how to live with and manage your diabetes. As always, consult with your doctor and your diabetes care team to find solutions that work for you.

Related Content

Kids & type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes in children has increased around the world over the past 20 years.

Kids & type 2 diabetes About Kids & type 2 diabetes

Type 2 complications

Complications from to type 2 diabetes can affect your body from head to toe.

Type 2 complications About Type 2 complications

"Causes" of diabetes

Learn about the myths and what our researchers know (and don't know) about the cause of diabetes.

How we help About "Causes" of diabetes