Undiagnosed Type 1 Diabetes Can Be Fatal at Any Age: Here’s What to Look For

Michael Cohen, a 25-year-old former Facebook engineer, passed away suddenly in Berkeley, California, from complications from undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes.

Among other things, the young man’s tragic passing highlights the fact that undiagnosed diabetes can be lurking at any age. Cohen’s official cause of death was diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition not to be confused with ketosis. But what is diabetic ketoacidosis, and what kinds of warning signs proceed this condition?

What HappensIn Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease usually not caused by lifestyle factors. In Type 1 diabetes, the body treats insulin producing beta cells as introducers, attacking them as if they were an infection. As a result, insulin is not released into the blood stream at normal levels, causing blood sugar levels to remain abnormally high while the body cannot use them for energy.

As a result, the body turns to proteins and fats alone for energy, causing ketones to be produced as a byproduct. When this happens, blood sugar levels are extremely high, as are blood ketone levels. This results in diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is not to be confused with ketosis. Ketosis, the biological phenomenon associated with the keto diet, is a natural state where the body simply does not have sugar in its blood, so it turns to fats for energy. Diabetic ketoacidosis, however, involves both blood sugar and ketone levels being extremely high, and can lead to death.

Type 1 Diabetes Warning Signs

Type 1 diabetes was commonlyreferred to as “juvenile” diabetes up until the late ’90s, but newer research suggests Type 1 diabetesis just as likely to appear in adults as it does in children. A recent study showed that 42% of Type 1 diabetes cases started when people were 31 to 60 years old.

Unfortunately, the misnomer has caused a large number of adults with Type 1 diabetesto be misdiagnosed withType 2, simply because of their age.Some of the warning signs of Type 1 diabetes include the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Headaches and changes in vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fruity breath odor

According to Beyond Type 1, a simple urine test and drop of blood from your fingertip can confirm diagnosis, so it’s important to call your doctor if you experience these symptoms.

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Kathleen G
Kathleen Gray19 days ago

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Leo V
Leo V3 months ago

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Paulo R
Paulo R3 months ago


Winn A
Winnie A3 months ago


Lesa D
Lesa D3 months ago

thank you Maggie...

Mike R
Mike R3 months ago


Mona M
Mona M3 months ago

Thank you for mentioning all these warning signs.

Peggy B
Peggy B3 months ago


John B
John B3 months ago

Thanks Maggie for sharing the important information.

Chrissie R
Chrissie R3 months ago

Thank you for posting.