Symptoms of type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes symptoms often arise quickly and usually means someone may have:
Frequent urination (this may include bedwetting in children who previously did not wet the bed)
Your body tries to get rid of extra glucose in the blood
As a result of increased urination, you may become dehydrated, and therefore may feel the need to drink, more than normal.
Irritability and mood changes
Mood swings and irritability can occur as a result of rapid changes in blood sugar.
Tiredness and weakness
When there is not enough insulin, the sugar can't get into the cells, and therefore there is not enough energy. Therefore, higher blood sugar levels cause you to feel tired and weak.
Fruity odour on the breath
This is a symptom of having high ketones. Ketones are produced in the blood from the break down of fat. Fat is used for fuel when the body can’t burn glucose.
Speak to your doctor if you notice that you or your child have several of the above symptoms.
Signs of type 1 diabetes
Signs of diabetes are different than symptoms of diabetes. Signs are objective measures which may include:
High blood glucose (sugar) levels
With type 1 diabetes, there is not enough insulin on board to transfer the glucose (sugar) from the blood into the cells. Therefore, blood glucose levels are increased above normal levels.
Losing weight for no known reason, such as dieting or exercise, can be a sign of type 1 diabetes. Glucose normally provides energy in the cells. With type 1 diabetes, the body can't get glucose into the cells, therefore the body burns fat and muscle in order to get energy. This results in weight loss.
A fast heart rate
Increased heart rate can occur with high blood glucose levels.
Up to 10% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes (the majority of people have type 2 diabetes). Type 1 diabetes usually begins during childhood or adolescence, but also can develop later in life. It occurs when the body’s own immune system destroys the beta cells (the insulin-producing cells) of the pancreas. The result is little or no insulin production. Without insulin the body’s cells cannot absorb glucose, which is required to produce energy. Deprived of energy, the body may also begin to burn its own fat as a substitute, leading to the build-up of harmful chemicals in the blood, known as ketones.
The first symptoms of type 1 diabetes appear when the blood glucose gets too high. In order to diagnose type 1 diabetes, your doctor will order a blood test to check the blood glucose levels.
Diabetes is not curable but it is controllable. Insulin injections are given on a daily basis to help reach blood glucose targets, using an insulin pen or insulin pump. For more information on insulin, click here.
Healthy eating and physical activity, combined with insulin can help people with type 1 diabetes reach healthy blood glucose levels and live long healthy lives.