Type 1 diabetes: symptoms

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes in its typical form are rapid onset and brutal:

  • Frequent and abundant urine (polyuria), the body trying to eliminate excess sugar in the urine
  • An abnormal thirst (polydipsia) to compensate for the loss of water in the urine
  • An intense general fatigue,
  • Weight loss and muscle wasting despite a healthy appetite
  • Greater susceptibility to infections
Only a measurement of the blood glucose level analyzed in the laboratory makes it possible to determine with certainty the diabetes (often frankly high):
  • > 1.26g / l under fasting conditions
  • > 2g / l at any time of the day

In half of the cases, the revelation is more explosive and is manifested by a ketoacidosis: in the absence of glucose to supply several organs (in particular the brain and the heart), the body is obliged to use the fats as fuel and produces toxic substances called "ketone bodies".
It is a harmful relief solution for the body that leads to acidification of the blood PH, manifested by abdominal pain, hypothermia, or even coma.

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The diagnosis

The diagnosis may be clinical if hyperglycaemia is associated with the classic triad: leanness / weight loss + ketosis + age <35 years or through the detection of circulating autoantibodies in the blood in people with high blood sugar.

At least one of the following circulating autoantibodies is detectable in 97% of cases at diagnosis: anti-GAD antibodies (which are observed at any age and persist throughout the course of the evolution), anti-IA2 antibodies and / or anti-Zn-T8 antibody. This diagnostic tool distinguishes type 1 diabetes from other forms of diabetes, and adapts treatment accordingly.

Shortly after a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, some people will experience what is known as the "honeymoon" phenomenon.

This transitional period is marked by a significant decrease in the need for insulin injection. It is explained by the secretion of a certain amount of insulin by some remaining pancreatic cells still healthy. It is possible in this case to initially balance the blood glucose levels with very low doses of insulin, or even to temporarily stop this treatment. It lasts an average of six to nine months, but can last up to two years. However, patients and their families should be warned that this is a temporary remission, not a cure.


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To read :

> Diabetes: soon a tattoo to measure your blood sugar?
> Pollakiuria: this need to urinate often
> Diabetes and school: how does it work?
> Diabetes: a very innovative way to control your blood sugar

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