The Signs & Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes, usually develops gradually, but the symptoms can manifest rapidly (as opposed to the symptoms of type 2 diabetes). For children, it can be easy to mistaken these symptoms as an indication of a stomach virus, since it is not uncommon for vomiting to occur. If your child is experiencing these symptoms, then you should seek immediate medical attention. Type 1 diabetes should be diagnosed as quickly as possible so treatment can begin promptly.

(If you have type 1 diabetes, there are a variety of diabetes clinical studies looking for participants like you.)

There is still some confusion as to why the symptoms of type 1 diabetes can manifest so rapidly in certain patients. Some experts believe that they could be triggered by a specific event, such as a viral infection. Whatever the event, it triggers a change in the autoimmune response of the body, and autoantibodies begin to attack the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Once the body has lost its ability to produce insulin, it won’t be able to metabolize the sugars obtained from food.

The effects are not immediately felt, as there is still insulin present in the body immediately following this autoimmune response. Over a few years, the insulin is depleted and glucose levels continue to rise. Once there is no insulin left, the patient’s blood glucose will rise more quickly, which causes the rapid onset of T1D symptoms.

All of the following could be indications of type 1 diabetes:

  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme thirst or dehydration
  • Increased appetite
  • Blurry vision
  • Extreme fatigue or weakness
  • Pins and needle feeling or losing all sensation in the feet
  • Wounds not healing up properly
  • Unusually moody or experiencing bizarre mood swings
  • Loss of interest in normal activities could be a warning sign in young children

If your blood glucose levels get dangerously high, it can produce any of the following warning signs:

  • Rapid deep breathing
  • Mouth and skin become very dry
  • Face becomes very flushed
  • Breath may start to have a strong fruity or sweet smell
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Can’t seem to keep down any fluids

Health experts also report that the following could indicate type 1 diabetes:

  • Lose of weight despite seeming to eat more
  • Low blood pressure (falling below 90/60)
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low body temperature (below 97º F)

Connecting the Dots

While these diabetic symptoms may not seem that connected at first, a closer inspection will show that they really are. If a person has type 1 diabetes, their pancreas can no longer produce insulin, which means they can’t process the glucose obtained from food. So despite the fact they may be eating more food, the body is not gaining needed sustenance. Without the ability to metabolize glucose, vital organs aren’t able to function properly, which leads to increased hunger, loss of weight, and moodiness. At the same time, the excess glucose in the blood stream is sent to the bladder. This produces an urge to urinate much more often and drink more.