Important Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms You Need to Know About

May 03,2019 |

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms You Need to Know

Unlike some diseases, diabetes is one that you need to manage regularly, every day, in order to stay healthy. When left untreated, diabetes poses a serious risk to your health and can be fatal. That’s why educating yourself and staying up to date with new research is so important. It helps you manage your lifestyle and get the care you need, in the best, most efficient way while keeping your blood glucose levels in range. However, there are still some people that are undiagnosed.

To reduce your risk of developing severe complications, it’s important to know the symptoms of diabetes and any risk factors you may have. In this article, we’ll explore all of the Type 1 diabetes symptoms you need to know to help you catch any early warning signs. If you’re experiencing any symptoms, call your doctor immediately.


What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes has no cure. It’s a chronic condition that needs to be properly managed and cared for throughout your life. In the past, Type 1 diabetes was referred to as juvenile diabetes and insulin-dependent diabetes because of its characteristics.1

Type 1 diabetes is a condition that occurs when your pancreas doesn’t make insulin or makes a very limited amount.2 Since insulin is a crucial hormone for the regulation of blood sugar, people with type 1 diabetes need continual care. Insulin is secreted by the pancreas and allows blood sugar to enter your cells and convert into energy.2 When there is no insulin, blood sugar can’t get into your cells and thus, builds up in your bloodstream.2 A continual build up of blood sugar in your bloodstream is dangerous and even life-threatening.


What Causes Type 1 Diabetes

Unlike Type 2 diabetes, which is primarily caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, the cause of Type 1 diabetes is still unknown. While your body’s immune system works well at fighting other harmful substances, a body with Type 1 diabetes attacks healthy insulin-producing cells.1 Genetics and environmental exposure play a role in the development of Type 1 diabetes, but further research is still needed for a more conclusive answer.

If you have a family member with Type 1 diabetes, you are more likely to develop it. This is because there are certain genetic markers that indicate an increased risk of developing diabetes. Interestingly enough, the prevalence of Type 1 diabetes also increases in communities as you move further away from the equator, suggesting a correlation between environmental factors.

Most people that develop Type 1 diabetes do so around two specific age groups. The first occurrence typically happens in children, between the ages of 4 and 7 years old.1 The second peak is in children between 10 and 14 years old.1 This, however, does not mean that Type 1 diabetes only presents itself during these years. It can develop and appear at any age.


Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

While there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes, you can still live a long and healthy life. The sooner you recognize symptoms and start getting treatment, the better. Remember, while Type 1 diabetes commonly presents itself during peaks in childhood ages, it can develop at any age, so always seek a professional medical opinion if you notice any symptoms.


Increased Urination

Your kidneys work with your pancreas to absorb extra glucose, or sugar, left in the bloodstream.3 With Type 1 diabetes there is a buildup of glucose in your bloodstream, causing the kidneys to go into overdrive. The harder your kidneys work, the more urine they produce. This leads to an increase in urination, regardless of drinking more fluid than normal.

Feeling Dehydrated

Unsurprisingly, the more water your kidneys are pulling from your body to filter your bloodstream, the more dehydrated you’ll get. If you feel regularly dehydrated, even while drinking the recommended amount of water per day, talk to your doctor.

Increased Appetite

Glucose is your cell’s primary source of energy. However, since Type 1 diabetes blocks glucose from entering into your cells, your body isn’t able to burn it as fuel. While you may be eating regularly, the lack of glucose entering your cells causes your body to continually send out hunger signals.3

Weight Loss

When your body doesn’t absorb the glucose from food, it doesn’t receive the nutritional value. Instead, it’s passed through your kidneys and excreted in urine. This commonly leads to weight loss in people with Type 1 diabetes. Similarly, dehydration contributes to water weight loss.

Nausea and Vomiting

The glucose that’s not emitted from the body as waste turns to fat. When your body doesn't have any glucose to burn, it starts burning fat for energy. This creates a chemical byproduct called a ketone.3 High ketone levels have been shown to lead to nausea or vomiting.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Finally, diabetic ketoacidosis can occur with untreated Type 1 diabetes. This is when your body’s glucose levels raise substantially and there is an excessive, toxic amount of ketones left in your blood. Diabetic ketoacidosis presents itself with extreme thirst, frequent urination, vomiting, fever, paleness, increased heart rate, nausea, abdominal pain, fruity or acidic-smelling breath, shortness of breath and lethargy.3 Seek medical assistance immediately if you notice these as it is life threatening if left untreated.


Type 1 Diabetes Complications

When Type 1 diabetes is not managed, there is a possibility of damaging major organs. The longer this condition is left untreated, the more harm that is done to your body. Some complications include:

Kidney Damage

Untreated Type 1 diabetes causes your kidneys to work in overtime, all the time. This damages the filtering system. If the damages are severe, or Type 1 diabetes continues to go untreated, this leads to kidney failure, or irreversible end-stage kidney disease.1 When this occurs, you’ll need a kidney transplant.

Nerve Damage

As glucose builds up in the bloodstream, it damages the blood vessels in your body, primarily in your legs. This creates tingling feelings that often continue to increase in severity and lead to numbness, burning, or pain.1 If this continues without addressing the underlying cause—Type 1 diabetes—you will experience complete nerve damage and lose sense of feeling in your limbs.

When this occurs in your feet, cuts and blisters pose a big threat. They’ll go unnoticed and be more susceptible to infection. Serious infections often lead to toe, foot, or even leg amputation.

Eye Damage

Type 1 diabetes affects all of the blood vessels in your body, including those in your retina. Over time, excess glucose builds up and damages the blood vessels, leading to potential blindness, cataracts, and glaucoma.1

Heart and Blood Vessel Disease

Due to the prolonged degradation of your blood vessels, untreated Type 1 diabetes leads to heart and blood vessel diseases. This could present itself as major cardiovascular problems such as coronary artery disease, heart attacks, stroke, or high blood pressure.1

Skin and Mouth Conditions

Due to dehydration, you’ll be more susceptible to gum disease and will likely have a constant dry mouth. The continual build up of glucose leads to more frequent infections in your mouth, skin, and gums. 

Complications with Pregnancy

Elevated glucose levels are dangerous for both women and their developing baby. There are higher rates of miscarriages, stillbirths, and birth defects in babies where diabetes is left untreated.1 Pregnant women with uncontrolled diabetes are at an increased risk for preeclampsia and other life-threatening conditions.



Living with Diabetes

One of the best things to do if you’ve been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes is to get educated. The more you learn, the better you’ll be able to manage your condition. As new medical approaches and therapies continue to develop, you’ll find new ways to gain control over your diabetes and live a healthy life. One way to do this is through Byram Healthcare’s Caring Touch At Home Program. This program combines exceptional customer service with top-of-the line brand name products to make sure that your needs are covered while reducing out of pocket expenses. The Caring Touch At Home Program combines convenience, affordability, and choice to deliver extensive service and support to everyone living with diabetes.

If you or someone you love is living with Type 1 diabetes, it’s important to get the treatment and care that you need. That’s why Byram Healthcare has a Diabetes Center of Excellence—a one source, total solution for diabetes care. We carry a full line of products including testing supplies, continuous glucose monitors, test strips, lancets, insulin pumps, and more. Paired with clinical and educational resources, Byram Healthcare is here to give you all of the support you need. Head over to our website today to browse our available selection, find resources, and learn more about our Caring Touch At Home Program.