Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes are caused by the build up of glucose in the blood and the lack of glucose in body cells. Symptoms include the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination (polyuria)
  • Extreme thirst (polydipsia)
  • Hunger
  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Blurry vision
  • Irritability
  • Skin infections
  • Headaches
  • Weight loss
  • No appetite
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Impotence
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Chest pain

In some cases, the beta cells of the pancreas are destroyed so quickly that an acute lack of insulin results, leading to a condition called ketoacidosis. When you don’t have enough insulin, blood sugar levels rise, yet that sugar cannot enter the body’s cells to generate energy. In response, the body starts breaking down stored fat for energy. The by-products of fat breakdown are called ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are composed of acids that build up in the blood and cause ketoacidosis.

Symptoms of ketoacidosis include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Dehydration
  • Drowsiness
  • Abnormally deep and fast breathing
  • Flushed face
  • Dry skin and mouth
  • Fruity breath odor
  • Rapid and weak pulse
  • Low blood pressure

If ketoacidosis is not treated immediately with fluids and insulin, it can lead to coma and even death.


American Diabetes Association website. Available at: .

Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2005;28:537-542.

Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine . 14th edition. McGraw-Hill; 2001.

Last reviewed April 2007 by David Juan, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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