Are frequent urination, swollen tongue and dry mouth symptoms of diabetes?

Howard E. Lewine, MD
Yes, diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) is my initial concern with these symptoms.

A simple finger prick for a blood sugar test will likely provide the diagnosis.

If the blood sugar is 200 or higher, then he has diabetes. If it is less than 100, he will need to consider other reasons for his symptoms. For blood sugar in the 101 to 199 zone, know that diabetes becomes more likely as the level gets closer to 200.

Less common causes for these symptoms:
  • Diabetes insipidus. The kidneys can't hold onto water because of abnormally low levels of anti-diuretic hormone.
  • High blood calcium level (hypercalcemia). The kidney needs to put out a lot of extra water to deal with the extra calcium.
  • Medications, mouth breathing or low saliva production can lead to a very dry mouth. Dry mouth can lead to excessive fluid intake, which increases how much urine the kidneys make.
  • Kidney disease. In some types of kidney diseases, the kidneys can't hold on to water properly. Thirst is the way we prevent dehydration.
  • An abnormal craving for water (called psychogenic polydipsia). People with this rare disorder drink huge amounts of water all the time. They actually can temporarily damage their kidneys.
Harvard Medical School Diabetes: A plan for living

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Harvard Medical School Diabetes: A plan for living

Nearly 24 million Americans roughly one of every 13 people have diabetes, a disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood. More than 90% of them have type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body...

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Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.