Warning Signs That You May Have Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that limits the production of insulin in the pancreas. While that might not sound dangerous, we need insulin to regulate our blood sugar. If your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, it can pose a serious risk for blindness, amputation, kidney disease, and more. However, it is possible to detect and manage type 1 diabetes. While we don’t know what causes the disease, it appears that a combination of genetic and environmental factors precipitates diabetes in children and, more rarely, in adults. While type 2 diabetes can be controlled with diet and exercise, type 1 diabetes requires insulin injections. There are specific warning signs to look for if you think you or your child has developed type 1 diabetes. If you’re a parent and your child has a relative with diabetes, it’s even more important to keep these symptoms in mind.
When someone has developed untreated type 1 diabetes, normally their blood glucose levels are dangerously high. The body tries to remove the excess sugar by sending a signal to the brain that they’re thirsty. The goal is to consume more water and flush out the sugar. Unfortunately, diabetics can’t process the sugar and this normal method won’t work—instead, the diabetic suffers from constant thirst.
Unsurprisingly, with unusual and extreme thirst comes frequent urination. If you’re a diabetic, when your blood sugar reaches a certain level your body pulls fluid from your cells and into your bloodstream in an attempt to clean your system. The increased liquid flows to your overworked kidneys, which produce more urine than normal. If someone is frequently urinating because of undiagnosed diabetes, their urine will most likely have a sweet smell and a pale color due to the high levels of glucose. If you notice that you’re urinating more frequently than normal, and it smells different, definitely go and see your doctor.
When a diabetic doesn’t have enough insulin, glucose from everyday food and drink isn’t absorbed as energy. In an untreated or undiagnosed diabetic, the body will cannibalize energy from fat and muscle tissues. When that happens, the body will start losing fat and muscle and constant hunger isn’t far behind. Trust us, this is not a healthy way to lose weight.
Fatigue is one of the most common ailments and a huge burden on everyday life. Undiagnosed diabetics are more likely to be tired due to the excess glucose in the bloodstream, which thickens the blood and requires the heart and arteries to work harder to pump it through the body. The thicker blood slows down circulation, and organs and muscles don’t get the same amount of oxygen. The same thing happens when the body doesn’t have enough sugar—without the right amount of glucose, the body doesn’t have enough energy. Either way, if you’re feeling exhausted and tired despite significant periods of rest and the right diet, consider these other symptoms and see if you might have diabetes.
High levels of glucose in the body pull fluid from your tissues and your cells, and that includes pulling the liquid from your eyes as well. When this happens, it’s extremely difficult to focus, resulting in blurred vision. If left untreated over a long period, new blood vessels in the back of the eye will develop in an attempt to compensate for the blurred vision. These extraneous blood vessels can cause permanent damage to your vision if left unchecked.
Issues such as yeast and bladder infections tend to occur more frequently in people with type 1 diabetes, especially if they are untreated or managed poorly. High levels of glucose offer a much more habitable atmosphere for yeast and bacteria that feed on sugar. Maintaining healthy and balanced blood sugar requires proper diet at the best of times, and if you have diabetes, you are much more susceptible to recurring infections.
The time it takes for a diabetic to heal a minor wound can be much longer than a healthy person. High blood sugar causes poor circulation in the body (because the blood is too thick), and the wound doesn’t get the increased oxygen it needs to regenerate. Excess glucose also decreases the efficiency of red blood cells to carry nutrients to the tissue and diminishes the capability of the white blood cells to fight infection.
In isolation, any one of these symptoms can be the sign of a different condition. But ion combination they point towards diabetes. If left untreated, diabetes can be a dangerous and even life-threatening disease. If you think you or your family is at risk, talk to your doctor. With proper diagnosis and management, you can still live a healthy and happy life.