The exact cause of T1D is unknown. Certain factors such as genetics, age, and ethnicity increase the chance of developing type 1 diabetes, while viral infections and environmental stressors are being investigated to see if they trigger the autoimmune attack. That said, 90% of those who develop T1D do not have a family history of the disease.

Inheritance Risk of Developing T1D

  • If a man has T1D, his child has a 1 in 17 chance of developing the disease.
  • If a woman has T1D and gives birth before the age of 25, her child’s risk is 1 in 25.
  • If both parents have T1D, their child has between a 1 in 10 and 1 in 4 chances of developing the disease.
  • The child’s risk of developing the disease doubles if either parent developed diabetes before age 11.

If you suspect you or a loved one has T1D, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately.

Someone with T1D can easily develop high or low blood sugar, often due to a miscalculation in insulin dosage or a missed or expired dose. Attributes like stress, exercise, sickness, other medications, and hormonal changes can cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.

Below are common symptoms of high and low blood sugar levels. It is important to note that not all cases present the same way, and someone experiencing a change in blood sugar could present all or none of the symptoms below.


Symptoms of High Blood Sugar
The majority of T1D diagnoses occur after a patient is in Stage 3. This is the final stage of T1D, where there is a significant loss of beta cell mass, resulting in high blood sugar and glucose intolerance. Often, diagnosis occurs when a patient is in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and the body is using its own fat and muscle as energy. The signs of high blood sugar mimic DKA, though the latter presents more extreme symptoms.

High Blood Sugar Symptoms

  • Exhaustion
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Disorientation
  • Nausea

Diabetic Ketoacidosis Symptoms

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fruity-smelling breath
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headaches
  • Exhaustion


Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar is a common occurrence in people with T1D, with mild hypoglycemia happening once or twice a week in most patients. The most common cause of hypoglycemia is due to a miscalculation in insulin or injecting too early before mealtime. Individuals who progress from the beginning stages of hypoglycemia may become confused and not realize their blood sugar has dropped.

Early signs of low blood sugar should be handled immediately. Hypoglycemia could become dangerous within minutes if not promptly treated.

Early Signs

  • Tiredness
  • Confusion
  • Sweating
  • Twitching, difficulty walking
  • Nausea

Later Signs

  • Lack of coordination, unable to walk
  • Blindness or impaired vision
  • Extreme disorientation/confusion
  • Delirium
  • Memory loss
  • Fainting
  • Seizures