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Symptoms

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually develop quickly, over a few days to weeks, and are caused by high blood sugar. At first, symptoms may be overlooked or mistaken for another illness, like the flu.

High blood sugar symptoms include:

Recommended Related to Diabetes

Preventing Diabetes Complications

There are many things you can do to prevent the development and progression of diabetes complications. After reading about the following diabetes complications, talk to your doctor about your health risk for these problems and some ways they can be prevented.

Read the Preventing Diabetes Complications article > >

  • Urinating a lot, which may be more noticeable at night. The kidneys are trying to get rid of the excess sugar in the blood. To do that, they have to get rid of more water. More water means more urine.
  • Being very thirsty. This happens if you urinate so often that you lose enough water to become dehydrated.
  • Losing weight without trying. This happens because you are dehydrated. Weight loss may also happen if you are losing all of those sugar calories in your urine instead of using them.
  • Increased hunger. You feel hungry because your body isn't using all the calories that it can. Many of them leave your body in your urine instead.
  • Blurry vision. When sugar builds up in the lens of your eye, it sucks extra water into your eye. This changes the shape of the lens and blurs your vision.
  • Feeling very tired. You feel tired for the same reason you feel hungry. Your body isn't using the calories you are eating, and your body isn't getting the energy it needs.

See more about symptoms of high blood sugar.

Diabetic ketoacidosis symptoms

Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis are:

  • Flushed, hot, dry skin.
  • Loss of appetite, belly pain, and vomiting.
  • A strong, fruity breath odor.
  • Rapid, deep breathing.
  • Restlessness, drowsiness, difficulty waking up, confusion, or coma. Young children may lack interest in their normal activities.

Low blood sugar

Common symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Sweating.
  • Shakiness.
  • Weakness.
  • Hunger.
  • Confusion.

You can pass out when your blood sugar gets very low.

See more about symptoms of low blood sugar.

If you aren't able to tell when your blood sugar is too low (hypoglycemic unawareness), it's a good idea to test your blood sugar often.

Risk factors for high and low blood sugar

  • Age. Teens are at great risk for high blood sugar, which can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Teens are often concerned about their weight and body image, and they may skip insulin injections to lose weight.
  • Tight blood sugar control. Tight control of blood sugar helps prevent complications, such as eye, kidney, heart, blood vessel, and nerve disease. But it does put you at risk for frequent low blood sugar levels.
  • Adolescence. The rapid growth spurts and changing hormone levels of adolescence can make it difficult to keep blood sugar levels within your target range. Your target range is the blood sugar goal you set with your doctor.
  • Psychiatric conditions. Eating disorders, depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and addiction to alcohol or drugs increase the risk of frequent high and low blood sugar levels.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 28, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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Normal
70-130
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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