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Type 1 Diabetes in Adulthood: Symptoms and Causes

Post written by BFH Staff Writer on December 13, 2021
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Also known as “juvenile diabetes”, type 1 diabetes is a condition that usually occurs in children and teens. However, you cannot completely rule out its possibilities in adulthood. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to stabilize its supply of glucose.

Type 1 diabetes in adulthood may occur suddenly. That is why it is essential to know the earliest signs of this condition. Since type 1 diabetes has similar symptoms to type 2 diabetes, it may be challenging to differentiate between the two. Therefore, please speak to your doctor when in doubt. 

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes in Adults

 The earliest signs of type 1 diabetes are often mistaken for another illness. Here are the symptoms that you should look out for:

  • Increased urination – This happens when your kidneys eliminate too much sugar from your blood. As a result, you use the bathroom more frequently than usual.
  • Increased thirst – When you urinate more frequently, it can cause dehydration leading to frequent thirst.
  • Increased appetite – Diabetes patients should eat fibre-rich food to avoid overeating.

Here are other symptoms of type 1 diabetes that you need to know:

  •  Unusual weakness
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Vaginal yeast infection
  • Trouble breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Sweet-smelling breath
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Mild to severe headache

Although rare, type 1 diabetes can make you lose consciousness. In the absence of proper treatment, the condition can become more severe.

 What causes type 1 diabetes during adulthood?

 The main reason why type 1 diabetes occurs is unclear. This diagnosis is similar for children, teens, and adults. Experts believe that because it’s an autoimmune disease, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.  

 Other than that, medical experts also suggest that type 1 diabetes is genetically transmitted.

 An individual’s exposure to viruses and other environmental factors is the third theory attributed to the development of type 1 diabetes. However, no clear evidence to supports this theory.


Like type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes can also become severe without proper treatment. If you experience the symptoms mentioned above, tell your healthcare professional immediately. The treatment for type 1 diabetes involves the usage of insulin shots. If you are diagnosed with the condition, expect to have regular insulin shots for blood glucose stabilization. Remember, there is no cure for diabetes. However, simple adjustments in your lifestyle and diet can prevent this condition, or stop it from getting worse.


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