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Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5% to 10% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that develops when the body’s immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. Still, the cause of this destruction is not clear; however, scientists believe it may occur due to genetic and environmental triggers.

In type 1 diabetes, the sudden onset symptoms are frequent urination and extreme thirst; other symptoms include unexplained weight loss, lethargy, drowsiness, and hunger.

Before going into the symptoms of type 1 diabetes, you should know about glucose homeostasis! What is glucose homeostasis? The body maintains blood glucose levels within the normal range by a very complicated process called glucose homeostasis. 

If there is any disturbance to glucose homeostasis, then it will lead to various bodily symptoms. Based on the symptoms, if you can diagnose type 1 diabetes early, then it may help to stop or delay the auto-destruction of pancreatic beta cells.auto-destruction of pancreatic beta cells.

25 Symptoms of type 1 diabetes

  1. Polyuria. - Unusually frequent and large quantity of urination; more than 6 to 8 times in 24 hours, especially during the night. If the blood sugar level gets elevated, and your body cells are unable to consume it. Then, these high-sugar level remains, until the kidney flush out this extra sugar in the blood as urine (pee). Therefore, people with diabetes pee frequently and in large quantities.
  2. Polydipsia. - A regular unusual feeling of being very thirsty. The human body needs water to keep enough blood and other fluids. However, frequent urination leads to depletion of liquid called dehydration that leads to a shortage of saliva, causing dry mouth and throat. Dehydration increases the osmotic blood pressure and lowers blood volume. It makes the kidney to release renin-angiotensin that stimulates the hypothalamus to signal thirst. Thus, people with diabetes have frequent thirst and need to drink often.
  3. Polyphagia. - In almost 40% of people, the thirst mechanism is so weak that often mistaken for hunger. Also, you feel tired due to inability to utilize available glucose for energy, so your body signals for energy as hunger. It causes you to feel hunger.
  4. Tired or Fatigue. - Always feeling lack of energy, tired or fatigue. Inadequate insulin secretion prevents the body from consuming the available blood glucose. Additionally, the kidney flushes out excess glucose and minerals (such as sodium, chloride, potassium, and bicarbonate) from the body. These minerals are for energy that gone unutilized. This lack of glucose absorption, removal of vital minerals, and dehydration lead to a lack of energy, thus feeling tired.
  5. Visual disturbances (improved or blurred vision). – Increase or decrease in a blood-sugar level makes the eye lens and (or) corneal tissue to swell or shrink proportionally, results in a varying vision; i.e. clear & blurred vision. With proper treatment, once the blood-sugar level returns to normal, vision variation disappears.
  6. Mood swing (Mental irritability or confusion). – Mood swing can be characters as; do not like to do anything, do not want to go anywhere, feeling tired & sleepy, changeable mood, and easily irritated. In children, behavior problems such as irritation are common. It might be due to low energy supply to the brain that leads to brain fog, forgetfulness, confusion, and irritation.
  7. Dizziness. - It is due to both low blood sugar and dehydration due to frequent urination. If the dizzy spells are last long, immediately consult your doctor.
  8. Feeling shaky. - You know! during diagnosis, the pancreas still producing some insulin. When you eat food high in carbohydrates, your body's insulin shoots up a lot. Thus, glucose drops suddenly, and this makes you feel shaky and also craving for sugar or carbs.
  9. Dry & itchy skin. - Dehydration and inadequate supply of nutrients to the skin make it lose its lust and shine. Furthermore, the dehydrated skin result in dull, flaky, rough, and dry skin, which makes the skin itchy.
  10. Unexpected cramp. – Muscle and leg cramp are common; it might be due to electrolytes deficiency caused by dehydration.
  11. Low muscular bulk. - If your blood glucose level remains elevated for a longer time. Your body will break down fat and muscles for their energy requirement, thus loss of muscle mass and strength. 
  12. Weight loss. - Unintended weight loss despite eating more. Lowering of muscular bulk lead to sudden weight loss.
  13. Yeast & urinary tract infections. - Recurrent or hard to treat yeast and urinary tract infections - Higher levels of sugar in the urine is the breeding ground for bacterial and yeast infections. Since frequent infection in the genital in adults, and diaper rashes in babies. Also, recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections.
  14. Bedwetting. - In children previously do not have such a problem. Excess glucose in the blood is removed by the kidney that causes frequent and excess urination. As a child, they cannot be able to control urination in sleeping, causing bedwetting.
  15. Unexplained frequent illness. – high blood sugar compromised the immune system, thus increased chances for unexpected, persistent illness.
  16. More vulnerable to respiratory infections. – Weak immunity due to high blood glucose level, additionally excess glucose in the blood is removed through urine, sweat, and breath. It may lead to respiratory infection.
  17. Slow-healing wounds. - Cuts and scrapes heal slowly. Healing takes longer due to low nutrient supply. Also, the immune system does not work efficiently in case of high blood sugar because of the interactions between various hormones and enzymes. Thus, diabetics sore takes longer to heal.
  18. Tingling or Numbness in the feet. - Pain, burning, tingling, or numbness in the feet. Elevated sugar can cause some diabetes complications well before you realize you have diabetes. One among them is mild nerve damage causing numbness in your feet. It usually starts in the feet and progresses upward.
  19. Repeated oral or genital thrush. - Thrush is a yeast infection causing redness, swelling, and itching on or around the affected area. Genital thrush can cause an unpleasant odor with a white curd-like appearance between the penis or vagina and skin — also, soreness during sex.

If you experience some of the above-said symptoms, then you should immediately rush to a hospital for a proper treatment.
If you missed a timely diagnosis, then your body starts breaking fat for energy called diabetic ketoacidosis.

Diabetic ketoacidosis symptoms

Diabetes ketoacidosis is a condition that develop due to dangerously high blood sugar level. Mostly it occurs after a viral illness, and in-most cases, the diagnosis of type-1 diabetes is after diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

  1. Fruity breath. - Continues very high blood sugar will build up an acid called ketones, causing fruity breath. Also, they may develop stomach pain. If ketones continue to build up in the blood will lead to a potentially fatal condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.
  2. Nausea or vomiting and abdominal pain. – High blood sugar can wreak havoc on your digestive system, producing symptoms like stomach pain, cramping, nausea, vomiting, and heartburn.
  3. Shortness of breath. - High blood sugar will undoubtedly cause unwell feeling; this could include shortness of breath (shallow rapid breathing).
  4. Fast heart rate. - Recurrent shortness of breath, anxious, panic attack and heart palpitation are often after hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
  5. Sleepiness. - Research shows high blood sugar causes inflammation of blood vessels that increases immune cells called monocytes that causes fatigue and tiredness.
  6. Flushed face. – Shortness of breath followed by rapid pulse leads to a flushed face.

DKA occurs when blood glucose rises to a dangerously high level due to the absence of insulin and the body’s inability to get nutrients into the cells. Therefore, the body starts to breaks down fat (and muscles) for their energy needs. It causes the release of ketones in the blood and urine.

If DKA is untreated in time can lead to stupor, unconsciousness, and even death.

If you experience some of the above-said DKA symptoms, then you should rush to the hospital for immediate treatment.
Type 1 diabetes requires 24/7 constant management with the use of insulin—either via injection or insulin pump. T1D needs to continuously and carefully balance insulin intake with eating, exercise, and other activities.

Most type 1 diabetes have a honeymoon period, which is a brief remission of diabetes symptoms while the pancreas is still secreting some insulin. The honeymoon phase mostly occurs after starting insulin treatment; it can extend for a week to even up to a year. 

During the honeymoon period, the absence of diabetes symptoms should not interpret as diabetes is gone (cured). However, slowly, the pancreas will lose the ability to secrete insulin, and the symptoms reappear.

If you start proper treatment in time, then you can able to extend the diabetes honeymoon period that is better blood glucose control due to the presence of some leftover beta cells in the pancreas.

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