Type 1 Diabetes: Symptoms

Health Monitor Staff
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Type 1 diabetes can be hard to detect because some of its symptoms may seem related to other health problems:

Common Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Vision problems, such as blurry eyesight
  • Sweet breath
  • Heavy breathing
  • Loss of feeling in your feet
  • Dry skin
  • Nausea, vomiting or stomach pain

When type 1 diabetes is not well controlled, long-term complications may develop. That's why it's so important to carefully manage your diabetes all the time. Here's a list of ways diabetes can affect different parts of your body:

Possible Long-Term Type 1 Diabetes Complications:

  • Eye problems. Retinopathy (damage to the retina in the back of the eye) is the most common eye complication for people with type 1 diabetes. Symptoms include blurry or double vision. Other common eye problems related to diabetes include dry eye, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
  • Foot complications. Nerve damage and poor blood circulation can cause tingling, pain, weakness, ulcers, and dry or cracked skin. Sores and wounds on your legs and feet can heal slowly and are more likely to become infected.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure). This is a common condition that's often associated with high blood sugar and high cholesterol (a waxy fat), which can clog and narrow blood vessels. High blood pressure can damage blood vessels and cause problems with how organs work. Eventually, this can lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and eye problems.
  • Nephropathy (kidney disease). The filters in your kidneys can become damaged and your kidneys could eventually fail to function.
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage). Your nervous system can become damaged, affecting your entire body. Your feet and legs are the most common areas impacted, often presenting tingling, burning or pain.
  • Periodontal disease (gum disease). Your gums become red and swollen and can start to bleed.
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD). Blood flow to your lower legs and feet becomes restricted. Your legs and feet may feel numb, tingly and cold, and have slow-healing sores.
  • Pregnancy problems. If your blood sugar is not regulated while you are pregnant, you could have a miscarriage or your baby may have a low birth weight or birth defects.
  • Stroke. Reduced blood flow, narrowed blood vessels and broken blood vessels that result from under-managed blood sugar can cause this brain-related problem.

Possible Short-Term Type 1 Diabetes Complications:

  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). This occurs when too little insulin is produced and/or your body generates too much glucose. You may experience excessive thirst, frequent urination and high levels of sugar in your urine and blood.
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This may happen when you eat late, skip a meal or exercise excessively. You may become pale, start to sweat and feel confused or dizzy.
April 2013