Symptoms usually come on suddenly and strongly. Typically the most prominent symptoms are excessive urination and extreme thirst. This is because the increased glucose in the blood causes the kidneys to create more urine than usual. Losing more fluid in the urine makes a person dehydrated. And dehydration leads to great thirst. Children may start to wet the bed again.
Weight loss, with no loss of appetite, also is common. The weight loss is due in part to dehydration. Water has weight. Imagine holding a gallon jug of water: it weighs about eight pounds. People with new, uncontrolled type 1 diabetes can lose a gallon of water from dehydration.
Other common symptoms are weakness, fatigue, confusion, nausea and vomiting. Dehydration can cause weakness, fatigue and confusion. Another cause of these symptoms, along with nausea and vomiting, is a condition called ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis occurs because cells can't the glucose they need for energy. So the cells have to use something else. As an alternative fuel, the liver produces substances called ketones. Ketones are a kind of acid. When they build up in the blood, it's called ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis can cause heart problems and affect the nervous system. Within hours, it may put a person at risk of coma or death.
Even after it is diagnosed and treatment is begun, type 1 diabetes can affect all body systems. It is less likely to damage the body, and cause symptoms, if the blood sugar levels are well controlled by treatment.
The serious and potentially life-threatening complications that can occur with type 1 diabetes include:
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