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People often think that type 1 diabetes occurs mostly in children and teens, but scientists have found that it can occur at any age. Adult onset type 1 diabetes is possible, as well as Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, a similar condition.

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually come on suddenly and manifest when your blood sugar level is higher than normal. These include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Constant feeling of hunger
  • Always feeling tired
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the feet
  • Losing weight in spite of increased appetite
  • Urinating more often
  • Irritability
  • Bedwetting in children


These symptoms also occur in people who have type 2 diabetes. However, unlike type 2 diabetes, which is usually associated with obesity and poor eating habits, type 1 diabetes is usually seen in people who are of normal or below normal body weight. People who are not aware that they have type 1 diabetes and fail to get treatment may suddenly experience serious symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis (a complication of the disease) such as:

  • Deep and rapid breathing
  • Flushed face
  • Dry skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Fruity odor in the breath
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Stomach pain

These symptoms usually peak before the age of 20 and the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes may be established by findings of increased fasting blood sugar levels and markedly abnormal oral glucose tolerance test results. Ketone bodies may also be found in the urine.

Type 1 Or Type 2?

Most adults who develop signs and symptoms of diabetes are diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes.

After all, type 2 diabetes accounts for up to 95 percent of all cases of diabetes, especially in people over the age of 35. However, it is possible that in a few of these adults, they may actually have diabetes type 1 or LADA, another subtype of diabetes — Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, which is similar to both types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is usually passed on in the family, but may develop at any age. It may occur following an infection or another factor that triggers the body to mistakenly attack the pancreatic cells that produce insulin. This may cause you to develop an autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes at a later age.

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