Type 1 diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas produces a little amount or no insulin at all. Several factors including genetics and viruses may cause this condition. Children and teenagers are susceptible to type 1 diabetes, but some adults have it too. In this article, we’ll discuss the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.
Insulin helps the body cells to use glucose for energy. The glucose is gotten from the food we eat, especially carbohydrates. With the help of insulin, the glucose passes from the blood to the cells. Enough glucose in the cells allows the liver and muscles to store the extra glucose or blood sugar in the form of glycogen. So, when you need energy, maybe while exercising or performing other activities, the glucose will be released for use.
People with type 1 diabetes cannot process glucose due to a lack of insulin. The glucose is unable to reach the body cells, and as a result, remains stuck in the blood. This condition can cause complications in the long run.
What are the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes?
Most people with type 1 diabetes may not quickly notice they have until it becomes more serious. If you notice any of the following symptoms, seek professional help as soon as possible.
They migth be almost similar in men and diabetic women. But, it is important that you consult a medical professional as soon as you come across any of these symptoms.
The overall feeling of tiredness or lack of energy can be described as fatigue. There’s a big difference between feeling sleepy or drowsy and fatigue. People who feel fatigued often lack drive and energy. They don’t feel like doing anything that requires them to exert energy. Although sleep could be a symptom of fatigue, they are two different concepts.
Fatigue occurs as a result of several medical conditions that could be mild or severe. One of these medical conditions is type 1 diabetes.
It’s normal to feel tired after a stressful day at work or school. But it is not normal to feel tired continuously after performing small tasks or not doing anything at all.
If you are always feeling unusually lethargic, you should consult a health professional. It’s a major symptom of type 1 diabetes.
2. Excessive Hunger
Hunger is a natural sign the body gives when it needs more food. When you feel hungry, your stomach will likely make sounds and you might develop a headache. It’s perfectly normal to feel that way.
There are several reasons for experiencing hunger and some of them include excessive exercise, a diet that lacks protein, dehydration, stress, and certain medications. However, after eating, you should feel relieved for some time.
In the case of type 1 diabetes, you will discover that after eating a meal, hunger will persist. You’ll likely want to eat more but won’t feel satisfied after a short period. If you continue to experience this symptom, don’t hesitate to see your doctor.
3. Weight Loss
After going through a difficult time such as a sickness, or emotional trauma, it is possible to experience a dramatic weight loss. This might occur as a result of not eating much or not eating at all due to loss of appetite. But sudden weight loss for a particular known reason can be surprising and frustrating at the same time.
If you notice your clothes don’t fit anymore and everyone keeps asking why you are getting lean, it might be as a result of type 1 diabetes.
Your body’s inability to absorb sugar from the blood and low insulin levels are the major reasons for rapid weight loss.
4. Frequent Urination
There are many potential causes of peeing continuously, which might not pose a serious threat. However, one of the signs of diabetes is going to the bathroom consistently.
Too much sugar in the blood puts more work on the kidney, which processes the sugar. When the kidney can’t perform this task effectively, the glucose is removed from the body through urine. It is not only sugar that is eliminated from the body, other hydrating fluids leave the body with it. That’s why you shouldn’t wait until the condition gets worse once you notice excessive urination and dehydration.
5. Blurred Vision
Vision becomes blurry as a result of elevated blood sugar. Fluids are extracted from the cells into the bloodstream to dilute glucose, even from the lenses of the eyes. This causes the eyes to become too dry, to the extent of losing focus.
Once you notice your vision is becoming blurry, see a professional.
6. Excessive Thirst
It’s perfectly normal to feel thirsty after performing a strenuous activity or eating a spicy meal. When there is a continuous urge to drink water, even after consuming several bottles of water, that’s not normal.
One common symptom of type 1 diabetes is excessive thirst. This occurs as a result of frequent urination which leads to dehydration. As your body is eliminating sugar with hydrating fluids, it will need a refill. That’s why you feel the urge to take water continuously.
How is type 1 diabetes diagnosed?
Several tests are carried out to determine if you have type 1 diabetes or not. Some of these tests can be carried out within a short time, while others take time.
Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes develops quickly. To determine if an individual has this condition or not, these three tests are used for diagnoses:
- 1. Hemoglobin A1c — 6.5 on two different tests
- 2. Fasting Blood Sugar test — 126 mg/dL on two different tests
- 3. Random Blood Sugar test — 200 mg/dL with symptoms of diabetes
How is Type 1 diabetes treated?
Since the primary reason for type 1 diabetes is the inability of the body to make insulin, you’ll need to take insulin to correct the situation. Some medications also help to control the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.
Metformin is an oral diabetes medication that was formerly prescribed for people with type 2 diabetes. It has been observed that some people with type 1 diabetes can develop insulin resistance, which means they can use it too.
Asides from lowering blood sugar, insulin also helps to reduce sugar production in the liver.
It is recommended that people with diabetes 1 should take insulin every day. While some people take an insulin rough injection, others take it through an insulin pump. Whichever one works bests for you is great as long as you don’t skip its intake in a day.
To keep blood sugar stable, you should eat regular meals. Your dietician can provide an eating plan for you. Remember to exercise daily too, as it helps to lower blood sugar levels.
Joshua is a certified diet planner. He has been researching extensively in nutrition, pain, obesity, and diabetes. He joined our team in February 2021 as an author.