Monday, November 7, 2011

Type 1 Diabetes - Signs and Symptoms

In honor of Novemeber is National Diabetes Awareness Month, Naturally Sweet Sisters wanted to make sure that signs and symptom were posted on this blog.

As we head into the cold and flu season, we also will see a rise in the number of new cases of type 1 diabetes in children and adults.  (Yes, adults can also be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.)  Sadly, many new stories have started appearing on several websites.  This past week, we have met two new families within the local community.  Some families were lucky enough to get an early diagnosis but a few, had very ill loved ones with blood sugars over 1000. 

Unfortunately, type 1 diabetes remains a very quiet epidemic and does not receive the media and medical attention that it needs and deserves. 

Type 1 diabetes does not have to run in a family and can be diagnosed at any age.  Early onset symptoms often resemble cold and flu symptoms.  While there is no cure, identifying type 1 diabetes early can help to eliminate severe illness by starting insulin sooner and avoiding diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

In general, figuring out if your child or loved one has diabetes is a big game of Clue.  Your doctor may not even be aware of the possibility of diagnosing a very young child (like ours did not know).  In addition, catching diabetes early is often mistaken for just random hypoglycemia - a low blood sugar that comes and goes but is not life-threatening.

You can read our Naturally Sweet Sisters diagnosis stories here and here.

Type 1 diabetes can not be reversed and it's origin is unknown.  If your loved one is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it is NOT because you caused it to happen.  Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the insulin-producing beta cells within the pancreas are gradually destroyed and eventually fail to produce insulin.  There is no cure but a variety of treatments using Manual Daily Injections (MDI) or insulin pumps to deliver synthetic insulin back into the body.

Perhaps you have stumbled across this blog for directions on what key signs and symptoms to look for in order to diagnosis your loved one.

Before answering that question,

If you are looking for answers, the one and only true answer is to make an appointment with your pediatrician, family doctor or endocrinologist and ask for a blood glucose test via a finger stick or a blood draw and a urinalysis to determine if sugar is spilling in your loved one's urine.

From the JDRF website: Knowing the warning signs for type 1 diabetes (medically known as diabetes mellitus) could save a life.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes (these may occur suddenly):
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sugar in urine
  • Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Drowsiness, lethargy
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Stupor, unconciousness
If you or someone you love exhibits one or more of these symptoms, call a doctor immediately or go directly to your nearest emergency room for further evaluation.

Do not delay and call your doctor today!

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