Type 1 diabetes is a serious health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. However, not everyone who has type 1 diabetes might be aware of their condition. By knowing type 1 diabetes symptoms, people can seek treatment sooner, and have a better quality of life.
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is a condition wherein the body does not produce enough insulin. Insulin is important since it helps the body utilize glucose or sugar from the food we eat into energy.
When the body does not produce enough insulin, the sugar level in the blood gets elevated. When the blood sugar level gets too high, a person can suffer from a diabetic coma, which can lead to death if left untreated.
What Causes Type 1 Diabetes?
We still do not know the exact cause of type 1 diabetes. However, we do know that it is an autoimmune response.
What this means is that instead of the immune system attacking harmful invaders in the body, it starts attacking the body’s own cells. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the immune system starts attacking insulin producing cells.
In contrast, type 2 diabetes patients usually have enough insulin in their bodies. The main difference is that type 2 diabetes patients have developed a resistance to insulin, which means that it is not as effective when it comes to managing blood sugar levels.
People with type 1 diabetes can also have more serious health problems compared to type 2 diabetes patients. This is because type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition, which means that it gets worse over time, especially if not managed well.
This is why knowing the symptoms of type 1 diabetes can help people with this condition take better care of themselves and live a healthy and normal lifestyle.
Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms
Some common symptoms of type 1 diabetes to watch out for are the three P’s: polyuria or excessive urination, polyphagia or extreme hunger, and polydipsia or excessive thirst.
Polyuria or Excessive Urination
Polyuria occurs when you urinate more than normal. Urine volume is considered excessive if it equals more than 2.5 liters per day.
Polyphagia or Extreme Hunger
Polyphagia is different from having an increased appetite after exercise or physical activity. While your hunger level will return to normal after eating in those cases, polyphagia won’t go away if you eat more food.
Polydipsia or Excessive Thirst
Excessive thirst is one of the initial symptoms of diabetes. It is also usually accompanied by temporary or prolonged dryness of the mouth.
In addition to the three P’s dehydration and sudden weight loss are also common:
Dehydration is one symptom of type 1 diabetes that is also one of the type 2 diabetes symptoms. When a person’s blood sugar levels get too high, the kidneys tend to produce more urine than usual. This then leads to more frequent urination, and can lead to dehydration.
In children, this can cause them to wet the bed.
Another effect of dehydration is that the reduced water in the body further increases the concentration of sugar in the blood. This is why it is important for people with type 1 diabetes to stay hydrated as much as possible.
Sudden Weight Loss
Another one of the type 1 diabetes symptoms is sudden weight loss. Sudden weight loss occurs partly because of dehydration because water makes up about 60% of our body.
One notable trait of weight loss caused by diabetes is that aside from being sudden, there is also no loss of appetite. This means that a person can eat normally and still lose weight because of their condition.
Complications of Diabetes
Complications may arise if diabetes is not managed properly. Those with diabetes are at risk of developing conditions like:
Ketoacidosis is a serious problem that can affect people with diabetes. It occurs when the body’s cells are not able to utilize glucose for energy.
This happens when the insulin levels of the body are too low. As a result, the liver produces ketones, which are used up as the body’s energy source. When these ketones start to build up in the blood, it can cause health problems and even affect the nervous system.
Eye damage is one of the more chronic symptoms of diabetes. This happens because the blood vessels of the retina, or the back of the eye, can be damaged by high blood sugar.
When these blood vessels are damaged, blood cannot flow into the retina, which can impede its ability to function. This can cause vision problems, or even blindness if blood sugar levels are not controlled.
High blood sugar can also damage a person’s nerves. It’s not uncommon for long-time diabetics to have numbness in their body parts. Eventually, the nerve damage can spread to other parts of the body, and can even affect a person’s digestion and urination.
Diabetics who are unable to control their blood sugar levels can also have problems in their feet.
What happens is that a diabetic’s feet can have sores or wounds that are slow to heal. This is due to the fact that high blood sugar levels makes it harder for blood to flow, and makes wound healing more difficult.
Coupled with nerve damage, some diabetics might not even notice that their feet are already gangrenous or have already been infected. If the infection is too far gone or life-threatening, an amputation might be necessary to prevent further damage.
Lastly, high blood sugar levels can also damage a diabetic’s kidneys. It is not uncommon to see diabetics also have chronic kidney disease, especially if they are unable to keep their blood sugar in check.
This is why it is important for diabetics to get proper medication as well as take steps to lower their blood sugar levels. These symptoms only get worse as a person grows older, so dealing with them early on can help prevent problems in the future.
Learn more about diabetes, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.