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Keep an Eye Out for These Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms


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  • Although the warning signs for Type 1 diabetes are easy to detect, some people tend to brush them off, thinking they’re nothing but normal body changes
  • The misdiagnosis of Type 1 diabetes happens more often than you think, which may cause patients to follow a wrong treatment plan and develop complications over time

The onset of Type 1 diabetes symptoms may come abruptly. Although the warning signs for this disease are easy to detect, some people tend to brush them off, thinking that they're nothing but normal body changes. These symptoms may also be mistaken for other illnesses like stomach flu and eating disorders.

Unfortunately, the misdiagnosis of Type 1 diabetes happens more often than you think, which may cause patients to follow a wrong treatment plan and develop complications over time.1,2

Consult Your Physician Immediately if You Experience These Symptoms

Time is of the essence when it comes to diagnosing and treating Type 1 diabetes, which is why it's important to be aware of its common symptoms. Here are some of the early warning signs that you should watch out for:3,4,5

  • Frequent urination — Passing large amounts of urine more often than usual is a sign that your kidneys are trying to get rid of excess sugar from your blood. This condition is also known as polyuria, and it usually occurs at night.
  • Increased fluid intake — Increased fluid intake, also known as polydipsia, usually appears together with polyuria. Since frequent urination causes dehydration, you might end up feeling more thirsty than normal.
  • Increased appetite — Feeling hungry all the time is a sign that your body is not using all the calories that it can. Some of these calories may leave your body through urine.
  • Unexplained weight loss — Rapid weight loss occurs when your body is dehydrated or when it loses sugar calories through urination.
  • Feeling weak or lethargic — Feeling very tired for no reason is another warning sign that your body is losing calories instead of converting it to energy.
  • Slow healing of wounds — Type 1 diabetes may cause nerve damage, hindering the wound healing process. Small cuts or sores that heal slowly are signs of high blood sugar levels.
  • Blurred vision — Blurry vision is a sign that there's sugar buildup in the lens of the eye. This causes the eye lens to change shape and become blurry.
  • Itchiness in the genital area — Excess glucose due to Type 1 diabetes may promote overgrowth of yeast, which causes itchiness in the genital area.

The warning signs of Type 1 diabetes may vary from one person to another, and the conditions mentioned above may not be the only indicators you might encounter. In fact, you may also experience mood swings, headaches and leg cramps if you're suffering from this disease.6

When talking to your physician, make sure that you explain all the unusual changes in your body to ensure that you get the correct diagnosis.

Extremely High or Low Blood Sugar Levels Require Urgent Medical Attention

Those with Type 1 diabetes may find it hard to manage their glucose level. As a result, they're more prone to developing hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.

Hypoglycemia is a condition wherein the blood glucose level becomes very low due to excessive amounts of insulin in the body. It can be brought under control by eating sugary foods.

But if not treated immediately, it may affect the brain and cause you to stagger, have slurred speech or lose consciousness. You must seek urgent medical attention if you experience nausea, sweating, shaking and impaired concentration, as these are common warning signs of hypoglycemia.7

Conversely, when your glucose level becomes very high due to the absence of insulin in your body, you may suffer from hyperglycemia. This condition may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening complication. The warning signs of hyperglycemia that require urgent care include vomiting, stomach pain, dry mouth and a sweet-smelling breath.8

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How Do You Verify if You Have Type 1 Diabetes?

If you're suspected to have Type 1 diabetes, chances are your doctor will require you to take a Hemoglobin A1c and glucose test to confirm the presence of excess glucose in your blood. In addition, your physician may also check your medical history and conduct a physical exam.

While these tests are good for verifying whether you're diabetic or not, they do not clearly distinguish the Type of diabetes that you have. To precisely determine if you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, your doctor might conduct a C-peptide test and/or an autoantibodies test.

People with type 1 diabetes have low C-peptide levels in their blood. Their immune system may also produce autoantibodies like zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8Ab), which are not present in people with type 2 diabetes.9

It's hard to get a definite diagnosis right away, what with all the possible factors that may affect the accuracy of these tests and exams. It may take you months or years to finally figure out the type of diabetes that you have. During those waiting periods, be sure to track your health condition, monitor your glucose level and review your progress regularly.10

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