type 1 diabetes
are caused by the buildup of glucose in the blood and the lack of glucose in body cells. Symptoms of hyperglycemia include the following:
Unexplained weight lossIncreased urinationExtreme thirstHungerFatigue, weaknessBlurry visionIrritabilityHeadaches
In some cases, the total lack of insulin leads to a condition called
. When you do not have enough insulin, blood glucose levels rise. Yet, that glucose 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 diabetic ketoacidosis.
Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include: Nausea and vomitingStomach painDehydration
following frequent urination
Drowsiness, poor concentrationAbnormally deep and fast breathingFlushed faceDry skin and mouthFruity breath odorRapid and weak pulseLow blood pressure
If diabetic ketoacidosis is not treated immediately with fluids and insulin, it can lead to coma and even death.
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 15th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2001.
Diabetes mellitus type 1. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 28, 2012. Accessed December 31, 2012.
DKA (ketoacidosis) & ketones. American Diabetes Association website. Available at:
http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/ketoacidosis-dka.html. Accessed December 31, 2012.
Last reviewed September 2015 by Kim A. Carmichael, MD
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