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What are the main symptoms of type 1 diabetes?

Symptoms related to type 1 diabetes (T1D) build over time or come on suddenly, perhaps within just a few weeks when the disease reaches a critical point. Signs include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger/appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Itchy or dry skin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Yeast infections
  • Irritability and other mood changes
  • Extreme fatigue and weakness
  • Vision changes or blurred vision

T1D is a condition in which the pancreas is unable to produce insulin – the hormone that enables your cells to extract energy from the food you eat. Without insulin to properly process sugars from food, excess glucose can accumulate in your blood. Your kidneys may prompt frequent urination to clear the excess glucose. More water is then needed to then stave off dehydration, so excessive thirst, dry mouth and dry skin can occur.

Hunger pangs can be a result of your body craving energy. Since cells are unable to properly take in energy in the form of glucose, your body calls for more food to compensate. Even though you may be eating more as a person with Type 1 diabetes you may still lose weight because your body begins to burn fat and muscle to find the energy it needs to function. Since your cells are deprived of energy, you may feel tired and weak.

High levels of glucose can cause the lens of your eye to change shape, creating blurry vision. Over the course of time, it can also damage blood vessels on the retina which leads to seeing floaters or even total vision loss.

Excess glucose in the blood also affects blood flow to the cells and tissues, especially to the extremities. This can create complications like slow-healing wounds, infections and nerve damage.

Talk to your doctor about blood tests to confirm if you have diabetes.


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