When the human body senses that something is not working right, it will try to find a way to fix the problem. When the body cannot absorb all the glucose traveling in the bloodstream, it pulls the extra sugar, along with water, out of the blood and puts it in the urine. Then it gets eliminated in large quantities, many times day and night. This means a person with type 1 diabetes will have to urinate a lot.
Then, as a person with diabetes continues to urinate too much, the body loses water and begins to dehydrate, just like a sponge drying up. This is a dangerous condition, since water makes up a large percentage of the human body. The brain is 70 percent water, the lungs are 90 percent water, and so is nearly 83 percent of our blood. As too much water leaves the body, the person becomes very thirsty and keeps drinking more liquid.
Since the body is eliminating a lot of glucose in the urine, its usual source of energy from food is very low. But it knows that plenty of energy is stored in the muscles and fat, so it starts breaking them down as it searches for energy. This extreme breakdown of muscle and fat soon can make a person with diabetes dangerously thin and very sick. Like Jonas, people with uncontrolled diabetes lose weight very fast without trying. Nick lost 15 pounds (7kg) in three weeks. However, since the glucose does not have insulin to help it enter the cells, the body's cells will actually be starving for energy. This makes a person feel very hungry much of the time, despite frequently eating large amounts of food.
Due to all these conditions, a person with undiagnosed or uncontrolled type 1 diabetes will often feel extremely weak.
The muscles and the brain cannot get the energy they would normally get from glucose.
Some people with type 1 diabetes may experience what is called diabetic ketoacidosis—a long name for a dangerous condition that has two causes. First, too much of the fat in their bodies breaks down in order to supply the energy they would normally get from blood glucose. This forms ketone bodies that accumulate in the blood, which can cause nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Then, as their glucose levels rise to very high levels, their blood becomes very thick (remember that water is being taken out of the blood and put into the urine), and it cannot circulate very well through the body. The combination of all these things causes extreme drowsiness and loss of consciousness. If this situation is not quickly remedied, the person could die.
Was this article helpful?
Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...