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Diabetes and Palpitations

Learn all about diagnosis, risk factors, signs and symptoms of diabetes including heart palpitations, rapid heartbeat, dizzy, frequent urination at night in this article.

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic nutritional disorder in which the body is unable to properly control the amount of sugar in the blood. It is characterized by an abnormally elevated level of blood glucose and by the excretion of the excess glucose in the urine. It results from an absolute or relative lack of insulin which leads to abnormalities in carbohydrate metabolism as well as in the metabolism of protein and fat.

After a meal, food is broken down into a sugar called glucose, which is carried by the blood to cells throughout the body. Cells use the hormone insulin, made in the pancreas, to help them regulate blood sugar levels. People with diabetes cannot control the sugar in the blood. This can be caused by too little insulin in the body, by the inability to use insulin or both of these.

Diabetes significantly raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, blindness and kidney failure. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to death. Diabetes may manifest in various symptoms of diabetes including rapid heartbeat, dizzy, frequent urination at night, paleness, feel thirsty and hungry most of the time.


Most sufferers do not experience any signs and symptoms of diabetes thus the best way to diagnose a diabetes is through medical tests. Diabetes can be easily diagnosed using a fasting blood glucose level test and the two-hour postprandial, which is after a meal. Diabetes is diagnosed if the test shows blood glucose is higher than 126 mg/dL on two different tests. If levels are between 100 and 126 mg/dL, this condition will be referred to as impaired fasting glucose or pre-diabetes and should be considered a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. People with pre-diabetes condition should get their blood glucose checked again in 1 to 2 years. Generally a fasting blood glucose test is part of an annual physical for adults.

Risk Factors

Dependent upon the age, lifestyle and family history one may be more susceptible to developing diabetes and experiencing some signs and symptoms of diabetes.

  • Family background is African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/Latino.
  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes.
  • People aged over 45 and are overweight increase the risk of diabetes type 2.
  • Had gestational diabetes or have given birth to a baby over 9 pounds in weight.
  • Have high blood pressure.
  • Have unhealthy cholesterol levels.
  • Taking a poor diet and living a sedentary lifestyle.

Signs and symptoms of diabetes

Many patients of diabetes have no signs or symptoms. If they have, the symptoms may be so mild that they might not even notice them. Some people have symptoms but do not expect of having diabetes. Here are the most common symptoms of diabetes:

  1. Feel thirsty most of the time, not just after extreme exercise or hot weather
  2. Have a dry mouth - even if they have just had a drink
  3. Have unexplained weight loss or do not put on weight even though they eat every now and then
  4. Feel lethargic, a diabetes sufferer always feel as if they’ve got no energy, fatigue, weak and tired all the time, both physically and mentally.
  5. Blurred vision. Be careful, untreated eye problems caused through diabetes can lead to blindness. Everyone should have regular eye checks, especially as one get older because a sudden vision change can be the early warning signal for many diseases – not just diabetes
  6. Cuts, sores or bruises especially on the feet that are slow to heal (slow healing sores)
  7. Intense itching or soreness in the genital area or yeast infections (which can be misdiagnosed as thrush)
  8. Diabetes is one of the heart palpitations causes although not directly
  9. Looks pale, may suffer from anemia, constipation
  10. Feels drowsy and has a lower sex urge than a normal person
  11. Increased appetite
  12. Rapid heartbeat, dizzy, frequent urination at night

Other signs and symptoms of diabetes include dry skin and impotence in men. Many people do not find out they have the disease until they have diabetes complications, such as blurry vision or heart trouble. If diabetes is found out earlier, then one can get treatment to prevent more damage to the body.

Diabetes and heart palpitations

Often patients of type 2 diabetes may experience heart palpitations when they allowed themselves to eat something sweet. Their heart rate may kick up (as high as 100-120 bpm). This is not directly caused by a diabetic condition.

A diabetic condition may bring stress to the heart and blood vessels. This is because in a person with high blood sugar levels or high glucose levels, the glucose may attach to proteins in the blood and change their normal structure or function. When this occurs, the blood vessels will become thicker and loss their elasticity gradually, eventually the heart will need to work harder to squeeze the blood through. This will cause some people to be more aware of their heartbeat and experience the heart palpitations symptom. When there is a restriction of blood flow in the heart, heart disease may develop.

While this condition is increased with all diabetics the condition is more common in those with type 2 diabetes.


There are two purposes in the treatment of diabetes, to stabilize blood sugar and remove the signs and symptoms of diabetes immediately and to prolong ones life and prevent complications in the long-term. If you're having some of the symptoms for diabetes, it's important to see your doctor. Even if you think it's absolutely nothing. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Disclaimer: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.