Saturday, February 4, 2012

Type one signs and symptoms

After a message from a friend today asking about Type 1 diabetes symptoms, I got to thinking that it's been awhile since I posted about the signs & symptoms of Type 1 diabetes. If even 1 person reads this and recognizes the symptoms early enough I will feel like I've accomplished something HUGE!

There was really no significant sign or symptom leading up to Clifford's diagnosis that I really thought stuck out. That is until the week prior to him being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. He had gone to visit with his dad and came home feeling a bit under the weather. The next day he had gotten sick a few times, and had what I thought was the "flu", and with what we understand about Type 1 now, he more than likely had the flu, and that is what triggered the autoimmune attack on his pancreas. He just didn't seem to get any better, he was very thirsty (wish I knew that was a symptom at the time), he lost some weight (didn't know this until diagnosis), and he was weak, and towards the time right before being diagnosed had a bit of labored breathing (which I really thought he got hit with a bit of cold on top of the flu.) Unfortunately I cannot go back and recognize the symptoms sooner, although I've wished many times over I could. But if there is a way to help someone else recognize the signs and symptoms sooner I will do my best.

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually develop quickly and over a brief period of time. They can be mistaken for a stomach virus because vomiting is often present at onset, especially in children. The classic symptoms of type 1 include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Continual thirst despite taking fluids
  • Severe hunger urges
  • Unexplained weight loss

Making Sense of the Symptoms

At first glance these symptoms don’t seem related, but they are. Because your pancreas has stopped creating insulin, a hormone, which is needed to process glucose taken in from food, your body is literally starving. Hunger, weight loss and fatigue are consequences of your organs not getting the glucose they need to function properly. Frequent urination and thirst occur because your body is doing all it can to get rid of the excess glucose by dumping it into the bladder.