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:

  • 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:

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.

Continued

Risk factors for high and low blood sugar

  • 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. Depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and addiction to alcohol or drugs increase the risk of frequent high and low blood sugar levels.
  • Eating disorders . Teens are often concerned about their weight and body image, and they may skip insulin injections to lose weight. Eating disorders can be much more common in girls and women of all ages who have type 1 diabetes.
  • Lipohypertrophy, which is fat and scar tissue that can be caused by repeatedly injecting insulin in the same place. The area may feel firmer than the skin around it. Injecting insulin into an area of fat and scar tissue means it may not be absorbed at the same rate each time, which could cause high or low blood sugars.
  • Gastroparesis . Damage to the nerves of the body can change how the stomach contracts when digesting food. Food can take longer to digest, which can make it harder to know when insulin will work after eating. This can lead to high and low blood sugars.
  • Thyroid or kidney problems. Too little thyroid hormone can slow metabolism, which can cause some medicines (like insulin) to stay in the body longer. This can cause low blood sugar. And when the kidneys are damaged, insulin may stay in the body longer, causing low blood sugar. The kidneys may also have problems making glucose, causing low blood sugar.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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.© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

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