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Type 1 symptoms

There are a variety of symptoms associated with type 1 diabetes. These symptoms can develop quickly and range in severity. Most people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in childhood and early adulthood, but it can appear at any age.

Common symptoms of type 1 diabetes:

  • unusual thirst
  • frequent urination
  • weight change (gain or loss)
  • extreme fatigue or lack of energy
  • blurred vision
  • frequent or recurring infections
  • cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • trouble getting or maintaining an erection
  • diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA)


If you or a loved one suspect type 1 diabetes seek medical attention as soon as possible. These signs could lead to a serious life-threatening situation.

Helpful links

Type 1 diabetes in people of all ages, of every race, and shape and size. Learn more about the myths and diagnosing diabetes.

Diagnosing type 1 diabetes

Your doctor can test for diabetes one of four ways and they may do a repeat test to confirm the result. In Canada the amount of sugar in your blood is measured in mmol/L.

Fasting blood glucose test

For this test, you can't eat or drink anything except water for at least eight hours beforehand. A test result of 7.0 mmol/L or greater in your blood indicates diabetes.

Random blood glucose test

This test may be done at any time, regardless of when you last ate. A test result of 11.1 mmol/L or greater, plus symptoms of diabetes, indicates diabetes.

A1C test

This test may be done at any time, regardless of when you last ate. A test result of 6.5 % or greater (in adults) and in the absence of factors that affect the accuracy of the A1C indicates diabetes.

Oral glucose tolerance test

You'll be given a special sweetened drink prior to this blood test. A test result of 11.1 mmol/L or greater taken two hours after having the sweet drink indicates diabetes.

A second test must be done in all cases (except if you have acute signs and symptoms). Once diabetes has been diagnosed, ask your doctor to refer you for diabetes education. Diabetes Canada also has many resources to help you understand diabetes better and live a long and healthy life.

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