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Signs and Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

Woman's chronic fatigue may signal diabetesType 1 diabetes can develop slowly overall (similar to type 2 diabetes), but the symptoms of this autoimmune disease can manifest rather suddenly. For children, it can be easy to dismiss the initial signs of type 1 diabetes as the symptoms of the common flu, since vomiting is common at the onset. If you or your child have been experiencing several of the following symptoms, then it is highly recommended that you seek immediate medical attention. Type 1 diabetes should be diagnosed as promptly as possible so that treatment can be started.

Health experts are still a little unclear as to how the symptoms of type 1 diabetes could manifest so rapidly in certain patients. Many believe that the onset of this disease could be triggered by something like a viral infection. Whatever this particular event may be, it triggers the immune response within the body, and the beta cells of the pancreas are attacked. Initially after this attack, there is still enough insulin in the body that blood glucose levels remain within the healthy range. Eventually however, there will be no insulin left in the body, and blood glucose levels will begin to rise quite quickly. This is when the symptoms start to develop for type 1 diabetics.

Initial Signs of Type 1 Diabetes

The most common signs and symptoms that could be caused by type 1 diabetes include:

  • Higher level of fatigue or weakness
  • Dehydration and extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Wounds don’t heal properly
  • Irrational mood swings or unexplained irritability
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased hunger and appetite
  • “Pins and needles” feeling in the feet or losing all feeling in the feet
  • Young children may have lost interest in some of their favorite activities

If your blood sugar levels have risen too a potentially dangerous level, then you may experience some of these symptoms:

  • Skin and mouth become unusually dry
  • Rapid deep breathing
  • Flushed face
  • Abdominal pain
  • Breath smells strangely fruity
  • Issues keeping down fluids
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

Health care experts have also reported that any of these could be a red flag for type 1 diabetes:

  • Low blood pressure (falling below 90/60)
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low body temperature (below 97º F)
  • Unusual weight loss despite eating more than usual

Looking at the Whole Picture

When you first see all these symptoms, it can be hard to see how they all could be related. However, you need to remember where all of this began. Type 1 diabetes develops in the body when the beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed, which means no more insulin. With no insulin, the glucose that is obtained from food can not be metabolized to feed the cells of the body. As the human body literally begins to starve, vital organs start to lose their ability to function effectively, which could leave you feeling unusually hungry, fatigued, and dropping weight without apparent reason. The body builds up so much glucose that it has to try and expel some through the bladder. This results in the urge to urinate more often and dehydration.