Can You Have Type 1 Diabetes Without Symptoms?

  • Medical Author:
    Erica Oberg, ND, MPH

    Dr. Erica Oberg, ND, MPH, received a BA in anthropology from the University of Colorado, her doctorate of naturopathic medicine (ND) from Bastyr University, and a masters of public health (MPH) in health services research from the University of Washington. She completed her residency at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in ambulatory primary care and fellowship training at the Health Promotion Research Center at the University of Washington.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Last Editorial Review: 8/29/2017

Ask the experts

I have a family history of type 1 diabetes. How do I know if I have this condition? Can I have type one diabetes with no signs or symptoms?

Doctor's response

Type 1 diabetes can be subtle or life threatening. Some people have no symptoms (asymptomatic) and type 1 diabetes isn't detected until blood or urine labs are run. If a person does have symptoms, early signs and symptoms are

  1. weight loss,
  2. thirst, and
  3. excessive urination.

Other signs and symptoms are

  1. an unusual odor to the urine,
  2. urinary tract infections (UTIs),
  3. yeast infections,
  4. unexplained weight loss,
  5. feeling hungry even after meals,
  6. stomach pain,
  7. diarrhea,
  8. fatigue,
  9. swollen ankles,
  10. darkening skin round the armpits or groin,
  11. night sweats,
  12. blurry vision,
  13. fruity or unusual breath,
  14. hair loss, and
  15. generally feeling unwell (malaise).

People with type 1 diabetes may experience more frequent infections of the skin or respiratory tract.

Undiagnosed type 1 diabetes can become life threatening if a person goes into ketoacidosis (a state where an elevated blood sugar leads to other metabolic changes).

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Last Editorial Review: 8/29/2017
"Epidemiology, presentation, and diagnosis of type 1 diabetes mellitus in children and adolescents"