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Why Do Diabetics Urinate a Lot?

By Sherry Gray ; Updated July 27, 2017

Unusual thirst and frequent urination are common symptoms of high blood sugar and often lead to a diagnosis of diabetes. Other symptoms of diabetes can be so subtle that they are hard to pinpoint and as a result, many diabetics go undiagnosed. Diabetes is a deadly disease that can result in many complications if left untreated, so a frequent need to urinate is a very good reason to see a doctor and get a blood test.

Why Diabetics Urinate Frequently

Diabetes is a disease where excess sugar builds up in the bloodstream. This forces the kidneys to work harder to filter out and absorb the excess sugar. This sends a signal to the brain that the blood needs to be diluted and the brain interprets this as thirst.

If the sugar is too high for the kidneys to process, the excess sugar is dumped into the urine. The kidneys draw fluids from the body tissues to help move the sugar out through the urine and this causes the need to urinate frequently. The process leaves diabetics dehydrated and constantly thirsty. The more water they drink to compensate, the more often they need to urinate.

Drink More

While it may be inconvenient to urinate a lot, it is much better to drink as much as possible to help the kidneys excrete excess sugar until the blood sugar is back under control. Dehydration may cause kidney damage and other complications over time.

What to Drink

Water is the best option to quench thirst. Tea and coffee act as diuretics and may aid dehydration. Avoid drinks that contain sugar and carbohydrates that will raise the blood sugar level and add to the problem. This includes any product made with milk, soft drinks, fruit juice or sugared drink mixes.

Symptoms of Dehydration

Frequent urination can lead to dehydration, which can become serious and require hospitalization. Moderate symptoms include headache, dry mouth, dry eyes, muscle weakness and dizziness. Symptoms of severe dehydration are unquenchable thirst, irritability, confusion, no sweating, little urination that is very dark yellow, sunken eyes, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, fever, dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes and eventually unconsciousness. Get medical attention immediately if you experience these symptoms or observe them in someone else.

Controlling Blood Sugar

The most effective way to keep frequent urination under control is to control blood sugar. Work with a doctor and a nutritionist to determine the best course of medications and diet, test regularly and get plenty of exercise.

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