Type 1 diabetes most often starts in childhood, before the age of 20. People with type 1 diabetes usually have a number of the following symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Feeling very tired much of the time
  • Very dry skin
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • More infections than usual
  • Nausea, vomiting, and stomach pains

Not everyone will notice drastic symptoms -- the symptoms may be subtle or go unnoticed at first. In some cases, the first symptom is frequent yeast infections.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when a person's own immune system gradually attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. As these cells are destroyed, insulin production drops, eventually stopping completely.



NormalDiabetesReset
Click to see the difference between normal cells and diabetes.

Therefore, people with type 1 diabetes must use insulin daily. If they miss their injections or take too much, the levels of glucose in the blood can fluctuate out of control, getting very high or very low and leading to emergency medical situations.

This possibility is not something that should make you live in constant fear. When you learn to monitor and control blood glucose level, which includes careful meal and snack planning, you will become a confident expert at keeping yourself (or your child) healthy.

Did You Know... ?

The first child received insulin in 1922.

The symptom list is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

References

The symptom list is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/faq/basics.htm).

American Diabetes Association. Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2007;30(suppl 1):542-547.

McPhee SJ, Papadakis MA, Tierney LM eds. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2007. 46th ed. New York: Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill, 2007.

 

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Review Date: 5/10/2007

Reviewed By: Robert Hurd, MD, Professor of Endocrinology, Department of Biology, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.


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