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Type 1 Really Thirsty

Discussion in 'Ask A Question' started by graham papworth, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. graham papworth

    graham papworth · Newbie

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    I have had type 1 for 18 months or so, am male and in my 60's....

    I can control my thirst during the day with regular infusions of tea but at night it is really bad and I tend to have to get up and make tea at 2 or 3 in the morning - water does not quench my thirst and I don't fancy sugar free gum in case I fall back to sleep - any other suggestions please ?
  2. Member496333

    Member496333 · Guest

    How is your blood control? Frequent urination and thirst is a sign of glucose regularly being above the renal threshold, which I think is around 10mmol/L. This is typically more associated with type 2 I guess, but I’m sure the biological mechanism must also apply to poorly controlled T1.
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  3. SueJB

    SueJB Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    @graham papworth why not make a flask of tea and take it to bed with you?
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  4. Boo1979

    Boo1979 Other · Well-Known Member

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    I would agree with the question about where your BG control is currently at
    I was told on diagnosis that one reason diabetes may not have been picked up in earlier urine dipstick tests, is that we all have rather different BG levels ( renal thresholds) at which excess sugar spills out into the urine, This ( old but probably still relevant) study foud that while 10 was the average renal threshold in the small sample they looked at, there was wide individual variation between 7.8 and 14.4
    I would think the same processes apply whatever the form of diabetes as the kidneys filtering as much glucose as possible from the blood is one of the the body’s safety response to high levels of glucose in the blood. The process is also a driver of dehydrationoften found in circumstances of high BG

    Edited to add this link regarding the renal threshold in T1
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    #4 Boo1979, Dec 16, 2018 at 1:19 PM
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  5. Antje77

    Antje77 LADA · Moderator
    Staff Member

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    Hello, @graham papworth , I see this is your first post, so welcome to the forum! I'll tag @daisy1 for you, she'll post a bunch of useful information about diabetes on this thread.
    May I ask how your blood sugars usually are? If they're too high than that's the likely cause of your thirst. If they're good, I'd visit a doctor to look at the cause of your thirst.
    What insulins are you on? Are you confident in adjusting your doses?
    Good luck!
  6. DCUKMod

    DCUKMod I reversed my Type 2 · Master
    Staff Member Administrator

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    @graham papworth - Could you tell us a little more about how you were diagnosed? Being diagnosed as T1 in the middle years isn't unheard of, it's less usual than T2, orr a T2 going straight onto insulin.

    What sort of numbers are you seeing when you test your bloods? If those numbers are higher than desired range, do you test for ketones?
  7. NicoleC1971

    NicoleC1971 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Thirst that is strong enough to wake you up and isn't refreshed by water suggests high blood sugars.
    If you are recently(ish) diagnosed it is possible that you still had a little insulin of your own circulating but that now that insulin has run out and blood glucose is being expelled by your body via the kidneys in an attempt by the body to flush out the excess sugar.
    An HBA1c might be useful to compare average bg level during the last 3 months compared to your previous result when treated with insulin (not your result upon diagnosis).
    What is your bg when you wake up? Also when do you wake up in the night ? (random time, wee small hours -no joke intended or dawn...).
  8. KK123

    KK123 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I definitely agree that it could well be high glucose levels. Quite common on diagnosis and I guess at any other time too if glucose levels are out of control. My understanding is that it is caused by your body trying to get rid of glucose in the body via urine, thus dehydrating you, hence the unquenchable thirst. If your sugars ARE high, please check the ketones too because if your body is unable to use glucose as energy, then it's using fat, hence the ketones and the risk of DKA. (Please note, that is different to the ketones produced by low carb diets), I am too thick to explain it scientifically but others can.

    Edited to add; just saw DCUK's post too. :)
  9. Tipetoo

    Tipetoo Type 2 · Expert

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    Great thinking @SueJB, there's more than one way to skin a cat. [​IMG]
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  10. daisy1

    daisy1 Type 2 · Legend

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    @graham papworth
    Hello Graham and welcome to the Forum :) Here is the Basic Information we give to new members and I hope you will find it useful.


    Diabetes is the general term to describe people who have blood that is sweeter than normal. A number of different types of diabetes exist.

    A diagnosis of diabetes tends to be a big shock for most of us. It’s far from the end of the world though and on this forum you'll find well over 235,000 people who are demonstrating this.

    On the forum we have found that with the number of new people being diagnosed with diabetes each day, sometimes the NHS is not being able to give all the advice it would perhaps like to deliver - particularly with regards to people with type 2 diabetes.

    The role of carbohydrate

    Carbohydrates are a factor in diabetes because they ultimately break down into sugar (glucose) within our blood. We then need enough insulin to either convert the blood sugar into energy for our body, or to store the blood sugar as body fat.

    If the amount of carbohydrate we take in is more than our body’s own (or injected) insulin can cope with, then our blood sugar will rise.

    The bad news

    Research indicates that raised blood sugar levels over a period of years can lead to organ damage, commonly referred to as diabetic complications.

    The good news

    People on the forum here have shown that there is plenty of opportunity to keep blood sugar levels from going too high. It’s a daily task but it’s within our reach and it’s well worth the effort.

    Controlling your carbs

    The info below is primarily aimed at people with type 2 diabetes, however, it may also be of benefit for other types of diabetes as well.

    There are two approaches to controlling your carbs:
    • Reduce your carbohydrate intake
    • Choose ‘better’ carbohydrates
    Reduce your carbohydrates

    A large number of people on this forum have chosen to reduce the amount of carbohydrates they eat as they have found this to be an effective way of improving (lowering) their blood sugar levels.

    The carbohydrates which tend to have the most pronounced effect on blood sugar levels tend to be starchy carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, bread, potatoes and similar root vegetables, flour based products (pastry, cakes, biscuits, battered food etc) and certain fruits.

    Choosing better carbohydrates

    The low glycaemic index diet is often favoured by healthcare professionals but some people with diabetes find that low GI does not help their blood sugar enough and may wish to cut out these foods altogether.

    Read more on carbohydrates and diabetes.

    Over 145,000 people have taken part in the Low Carb Program - a 10 week structured education course that is helping people lose weight and reduce medication dependency by explaining the science behind carbs, insulin and GI.

    Eating what works for you

    Different people respond differently to different types of food. What works for one person may not work so well for another. The best way to see which foods are working for you is to test your blood sugar with a glucose meter.

    To be able to see what effect a particular type of food or meal has on your blood sugar is to do a test before the meal and then test after the meal. A test 2 hours after the meal gives a good idea of how your body has reacted to the meal.

    The blood sugar ranges recommended by NICE are as follows:

    Blood glucose ranges for type 2 diabetes
    • Before meals: 4 to 7 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 8.5 mmol/l
    Blood glucose ranges for type 1 diabetes (adults)
    • Before meals: 4 to 7 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 9 mmol/l
    Blood glucose ranges for type 1 diabetes (children)
    • Before meals: 4 to 8 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 10 mmol/l
    However, those that are able to, may wish to keep blood sugar levels below the NICE after meal targets.

    Access to blood glucose test strips

    The NICE guidelines suggest that people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should be offered:
    • structured education to every person and/or their carer at and around the time of diagnosis, with annual reinforcement and review
    • self-monitoring of plasma glucose to a person newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes only as an integral part of his or her self-management education

    Therefore both structured education and self-monitoring of blood glucose should be offered to people with type 2 diabetes. Read more on getting access to blood glucose testing supplies.

    You may also be interested to read questions to ask at a diabetic clinic.

    Note: This post has been edited from Sue/Ken's post to include up to date information.
    Take part in Diabetes.co.uk digital education programs and improve your understanding. Most of these are free.

    • Low Carb Program - it's made front-page news of the New Scientist and The Times. Developed with 20,000 people with type 2 diabetes; 96% of people who take part recommend it... find out why

    • Hypo Program - improve your understanding of hypos. There's a version for people with diabetes, parents/guardians of children with type 1, children with type 1 diabetes, teachers and HCPs.
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