Can You Have Type 1 Diabetes Without Symptoms?

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
References
"Epidemiology, presentation, and diagnosis of type 1 diabetes mellitus in children and adolescents"
UpToDate.com
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