What you should know
My heart hurts each time I hear a story about someone passing away because they had undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed, type 1 diabetes. There are a lot of things being passed around the online diabetes community trying to alert parents to the symptoms of diabetes that they should recognize, this is important to me. It’s also important to recognize these symptoms in adults because diabetes (in general) does not discriminate on age, weight, race, general health, anything.
People have died because someone (themselves, parents or doctors) thought their diabetes was just the flu or something else. My doctor thought I was pregnant. If you see these symptoms in someone yourself or a loved one, go to the doctor:
- Extreme, persistent thirst.
- Frequent urination.
- Extreme hunger.
- Explainable weight loss.
- Fatigue or extreme tiredness.
- Unusual behavior including mood change and irritability.
- Blurred vision.
- Yeast infections.
My mouth was always dry and a craved a cool, clear glass of water. I remember filling a glass, gulping it all down, then refilling it. I thought it was dry mouth from allergies. And because I drank so much, I was going to the bathroom all the time. I was exhausted all the time, but I thought it was from getting up to go to the bathroom from drinking so much and not getting enough sleep.
I remember being out and not being able to read a menu because everything was fuzzy. Then I couldn’t eat my meal despite being extremely hungry because with every bite I thought I was going to vomit. My stomach was upset all the time, then the morning I got out of the shower and immediately threw up, I decided that I must have the flu. I thought I would rest, stay hydrated and push myself through it, but I honestly forgot when the last time I felt well was.
Brad convinced me to go to the doctor.
He saved my life.
At the doctor’s office, I discovered that I had lost 30 pounds. How did we not notice? I had every symptom on the list above and the doctor, even though she’s a good doctor, didn’t even consider that I might have diabetes.
I didn’t get a glucose test until after my urine pregnancy test came back negative but indicated off-the-charts glucose in my urine. My prescription for nausea medication had already been called into the pharmacy before I got a blood glucose test. When the nurse finally coaxed blood from my fingertip, the glucose content was too high for the meter to register a number. I was hardcore in ketoacidosis and my life was in danger. To the point that I was not allowed to go anywhere but the hospital and when I got there they put a heart monitor on me.
If I had continued acting like I just had the flu, I wouldn’t be here. We didn’t know the symptoms of diabetes. We didn’t know what to look for.
It’s important to me that my friends and family know the symptoms. It’s important to me that strangers know the symptoms. Diabetes doesn’t happen to everyone and I don’t live with the opinion that everyone needs to constantly look out for it, but when you look at the symptom list above, even if you have some of them and don’t have diabetes, there is something going on. It can never hurt to ask your doctor for a blood sugar check. It takes a few seconds but can answer a lot of questions (even if it signals a low blood sugar which can be a symptom of other issues).