Could your child have Type 1 diabetes? Find out how to recognize the common symptoms of Type 1 diabetes
If your child showed symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, would you know what was wrong? An estimated 1.25 million people in the United States have Type 1 diabetes, and around 40,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease this year. Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, which was once known as juvenile diabetes, usually appear in childhood or adolescence, but can occasionally appear in adults. Parents who know the common symptoms of Type 1 diabetes may be able to recognize the warning signs as soon as this disease begins to manifest in their children. This early identification can decrease the risk of developing certain types of damage caused by Type 1 diabetes from occurring.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
When we eat food, our bodies break the food down into a simple sugar called glucose. A hormone called insulin allows us to absorb the glucose into our bloodstream, where our bodies use it for energy. When a person has Type 1 diabetes, he or she becomes unable to produce insulin. As a result, people with Type 1 diabetes develop hyperglycemia (dangerously high blood glucose levels).Type 1 diabetes can occur because of genetic factors, certain viruses, or injury to the pancreas. There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes, but the American Diabetes Association advises the condition can be managed through a combination of medication, exercise, and nutrition.
Common symptoms of Type 1 diabetes
If you notice two or more of the following symptoms of Type 1 diabetes in your child, adolescent, or yourself, you should seek the advice of a doctor at once. When Type 1 diabetes is left untreated, the hyperglycemia that develops can cause a life-threatening condition called ketoacidosis (diabetic coma). The most common symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include:
- Increased thirst and urination
With Type 1 diabetes, your blood glucose levels get so high that your kidneys cannot absorb all the glucose. Your bod produces a lot more urine to try to flush the glucose, which makes you extremely thirsty.
- Extreme hunger
Your body is unable to absorb the glucose from food, causing extreme hunger pangs that can occur even as you are eating
- Unintended weight loss, even though you are eating more
When your body is unable to process glucose because it has no insulin, it begins to burn muscle and fat for energy, causing weight loss
- Intense fatigue and weakness
Because your body is unable to absorb glucose without insulin, your body has nothing to use for fuel and energy
- Blurry vision
Changing fluid levels caused by excessive drinking and urination can make your eyes change shape and cause them to lose focus
- Wounds that do not heal well
Your body typically increases blood flow to wounds to help them heal. With Type 1 diabetes, high blood glucose levels can affect blood flow and slow healing
- Yeast infection (in females)
Yeast thrives when there are high levels of glucose, so women with Type 1 diabetes can end up with frequent vaginal yeast infections
Differences between symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes share many of the same warning symptoms, but there are some important differences. Type 1 diabetes typically appears before age twenty, swiftly progressing from initial symptoms into full-blown diabetes in a matter of days or weeks. This is very different from Type 2 diabetes, which often develops later in life with symptoms that may initially be mild enough to go unnoticed for months, until damage has occurred.