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Type 1 Diabetes: Medical History and Physical Exam

Topic Overview

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually happen quickly. If ignored, the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes may happen in an emergency room or hospital.

If your doctor thinks that you might have type 1 diabetes, he or she may ask questions about your symptoms, family history of the disease, and personal medical history. Questions for the medical history may include the following:

  • Have you had increased thirst, increased urination, and fatigue?
  • How long have the symptoms been present?
  • Have you had an increase in appetite?
  • Have you lost weight lately?
  • Is there a family history of diabetes?
  • What other medical conditions do you have?
  • What medicines are you are currently taking?
  • Have you been ill recently?
  • Has growth and development progressed normally (if the person is a child)?

Your doctor will also give you a complete physical exam. You will continue having exams on a regular basis if you are diagnosed with this disease. The physical exam includes:

  • Measuring your height and weight. Children and teens will have their height and weight compared to standards that are normal for their age groups.
  • Checking your blood pressure. For adults, blood pressure may be checked while standing and sitting.
  • Checking your eyes.
  • Feeling your neck to evaluate your thyroid gland. Thyroid problems sometimes develop in people who have diabetes.
  • Listening to your heart and lung sounds and checking the blood flow (pulses) in your arms, legs, and feet.
  • Checking for signs of dehydration, such as loose skin, a dry mouth, or sunken eyeballs.
  • Checking alertness, if you are very ill.
  • Checking your feet for problems including corns, calluses, blisters, cuts, cracks, or sores.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Last Revised July 16, 2013

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