Type 1 diabetes can begin to affect you suddenly without warning, so it’s important to be aware of the symptoms so that if you begin to experience them you can get medical help. Because the most common symptoms for type 1 diabetes might not seem particularly worrying they are often ignored – these include needing to use the toilet lots, always being thirsty and feeling tired for no apparent reason.
Other symptoms that affect people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are itchiness around the genitals and blurred vision. Symptoms such as cramps, constipation and skin infections are experienced by people with type 1 diabetes much more frequently than people with type 2.
People living with type 1 diabetes have to carefully manage their condition to keep their blood glucose at a normal level. Hypoglycaemia can occur if blood glucose becomes too low. This can be caused by too much insulin, a skipped meal, or vigorous exercise. A number of symptoms are associated with this including feeling shaky and irritable, sweating and weakness. Hypos can lead to confusion, slurred speech and unconsciousness, but can easily be brought under control by eating or drinking something containing sugar.
If the same symptoms crop up – tiredness, thirst, needing to urinate lots – then it is likely that blood glucose will have dropped, often because not enough insulin has been administered. It’s important that if blood glucose levels aren’t stabilised medical help is sought immediately – if left untreated for long enough hyperglycaemia, as the condition is known, can end up being fatal.
Since type 1 diabetes often develops at a very young age it is unlikely that children will understand why they are experiencing any symptoms. This is why it’s especially important for parents to know what the symptoms of type 1 diabetes are, so that if their children have any they can get the help they need as soon as possible.
Visit JDRF for more information and find out how you can help find the cure.
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