In type 1 diabetes, the sudden onset symptoms are frequent urination and extreme thirst; other symptoms include unexplained weight loss, lethargy, drowsiness, and hunger.
25 Symptoms of type 1 diabetes
What is glucose homeostasis? The body maintains blood glucose level 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 are able to diagnose type 1 diabetes early, then it may help to stop or delay the auto-destruction of pancreatic beta cells.
Below are some common type 1 diabetes symptoms:
- Polyuria (Unusually frequent and high levels 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.
- Polydipsia (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 leads to a shortage in 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 a frequent thirst and need to drink often.
- Polyphagia (Extreme hunger, even short time after food) – In almost 40% of people, the thirst mechanism is so weak that often mistaken for hunger. In diabetes, insulin does not work well in muscle, fat, and other tissues, so the pancreas puts out a lot of insulin to try to compensate. It results in high insulin levels, which send signals to the brain that trigger hungry even after food.
- All-time lack of energy, feeling tired or fatigue - Inadequate insulin secretion prevents the body to consume the available blood glucose. Additionally, 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 lack of energy, thus feeling tired.
- Visual disturbances (improved or blurred vision) - Those who unknowing having diabetes are often happy to note their eyesight improved. These are mostly people with myopia or shortsightedness. It is because an increase in a blood-sugar level makes the eye lens and (or) corneal tissue to swell proportionally, results in an improved vision. Others may find their vision turns blur; concerning how high the blood sugar level is. With proper treatment, once the blood-sugar level returns to normal, blurred vision (or sometimes clear vision) disappears.
- Mood swing (Mental irritability or confusion) - 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 dehydration, fatigue, feeling sleepy, and low energy supply to the brain leads to brain fog, forgetfulness, confusion, and irritation.
- Dizziness - It is due to both low blood sugar and dehydration (due to frequent urination). If the dizzy spells are lasting a long time, consult your doctor.
- Feel shaky - When you eat food high in carbohydrates, your body's insulin shoots up a lot. Thus glucose drops quickly, and this makes you feel shaky and also crave for sugar or carbs.
- Dry, itchy skin - Dehydration and inadequate supply of nutrients to the skin make it, lose its lust and shine. Furthermore, the dehydrated skin result is dull, flaky, rough, and dry skin. Which makes the skin itchy?
- Unexpected cramp – muscle and leg cramp are common; it might be due to electrolytes deficiency caused by dehydration.
- 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. It is more noticeable in type 1 than type 2 diabetes.
- Unintended weight loss despite eating more - lowering of muscular bulk lead to sudden weight loss.
- 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 penis in men, vagina in women, and diaper rashes in babies. Also, recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections.
- Bedwetting (in children) previously do not have such problem.
- Unexplained frequent illness – high blood sugar compromised the immune system, thus chances for unexpected, persistent illness.
- More vulnerable to respiratory infections – compromised immune system pays the way for a respiratory infection.
- 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.
- 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.
- Repeated oral-genital thrush - Genital thrush is redness, swelling, and itching on or around the penis/vulva. And an unpleasant odor with white curd-like appearance between penis/vagina and skin. Also, soreness during sex.
Diabetic ketoacidosis symptoms
Diabetes ketoacidosis is a condition due to very high blood sugar level.
Most symptoms occur after a viral illness, and in most cases, diagnose of type-1 diabetes are after diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
- Fruity breath odor - Continues very high blood sugar will buildup an acid called ketones, causing fruity breath odor. Also, they have stomach pain. If ketones continue to build up in the blood will lead to a potentially fatal condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
- 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.
- Shortness of breath (shallow rapid breathing) - High blood sugar will undoubtedly cause unwell feeling; this could include shortness of breath.
- Fast heart rate - Recurrent shortness of breath, anxious, panic attack, and heart palpitation are often after hypos.
- Sleepiness - Research shows, high blood sugar causes inflammation of blood vessels that increases immune cells called monocytes reaches the brain causing fatigue and tiredness.
- Flushed face – Shortness of breath followed by rapid pulse leads to flushed face.
DKA occurs when blood glucose rises to a dangerously high level due to the absence of insulin and the body unable 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.
Some type 1 diabetes has 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 from a week to even up to a year. However, the absence of diabetes symptoms should not interpret as diabetes is gone (cured). Slowly pancreas will lose the ability to secrete insulin, and the symptoms reappear.