Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immunity starts destroying the beta cells in the pancreas, which are in charge of the insulin production. Insulin is a type of hormone which aids the movement of sugar or glucose into the bodily tissues and it serves as a fuel. This process is however impeded when the beta cells are being damaged and as a consequence of the insulin absence, the glucose begins building up in the blood and the cells starve. When this happens, the blood sugar levels elevate.
What Are the Main Symptoms?
- Excessive thirst
- Hunger even after eating
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal ache
- Frequent urination
- Loss of weight
- Blurry vision
- Heavy breathing
- Skin infections
The Cause for Type 1 Diabetes
Medical experts are still unsure of all the contributing factors to type 1 diabetes, that is, the precise answer to why the immune system begins attacking the pancreas, but, what they do know is the involvement of genetics and some viruses. What’s more, this diabetes can also develop in patients diagnosed with vitiligo and Grave’s disease.
Who Is at a Higher Risk of Type 1 Diabetes?
- People who have a parent or two parents or a sibling with type 1 diabetes
- Younger age (between 4 and 7 and 10 and 14)
- Living further from the equator
- Specific genes
The Diagnosis Process
If you happen to experience several of the above-mentioned signs, you need to consult your physician to determine the underlying cause. After explaining all your symptoms, if the doctor suspects type 1 diabetes, he/she will measure your blood sugar or order urine tests for glucose or chemicals that the body is known to produce when it lacks insulin. For now, there is no known way to avert this type of diabetes.
Treatment Outcome in Type 1 Diabetes
When it comes to the management of type 1 diabetes, most of diagnosed patients live long and healthy lives. The key element is to maintain the blood sugar levels balanced and check them regularly. Adjustment of insulin, a healthy diet, and adequate physical activities also play a major role in improving the quality of life for diabetics.
On a daily basis, a diabetic needs to use an insulin pump or take insulin injections, monitor the blood sugar levels, balance the carbohydrate intake, work out to aid the body’s use of insulin, quit smoking and drinking, and last but not least, go to regular medical checkups to exclude any eye, heart, kidney, and nerve complications.
Insulin Therapy Explained
For those who do not know, there is more than one type of insulin, i.e. short-acting or regular, rapid-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting insulin. Namely, insulin cannot be administered orally as the enzymes in the stomach will break it down and hinder its effect. There are two methods this can be done, that is, either with injections consisted of a needle and syringe or an insulin pen or with an insulin pump, a device consisted of an insulin reservoir and a catheter inserted under the abdominal skin. There are wireless pumps too.
Other Medications That Can Be Used
- To maintain the health of your heart, your physician may prescribe daily dosage of aspirin.
- High blood pressure meds are often used to preserve the health and functioning of the kidneys if the diabetic patient has a blood pressure higher than 140/90.
- Statins or meds for reduction of bad cholesterol are frequently part of the diabetic’s therapy due to their increased chance of heart disease.
Nutrition and Type 1 Diabetes
Due to being misinformed or not informed enough, a lot of people think that being diagnosed with diabetes means that one cannot eat tasty foods, but this is not the case. What is crucial for diabetics is making healthier meal choices. Patients diagnosed with type 1 diabetes can eat almost the same foods they have eaten before and follow important guidelines like counting the amount of carbs, getting sufficient fiber, minimizing unhealthy fats, and opting for artificial sweeteners and low-calorie drinks and foods.
According to the American Diabetes Association, foods with a low glycemic index are highly recommendable for diabetics because of the low amount of carbohydrates and the richness in potassium, fiber, magnesium, and calcium. These foods are dark green leafy veggies, citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, salmon, nuts, fat-free milk and yogurt, and whole grains.
What Happens If Type 1 Diabetes Is Left Untreated?
When not properly addressed, this type of diabetes will deprive the bodily cells of the sugar which they require for energy. As a result, the body will begin to burn fat instead and this leads to the creation of ketone deposits, which can poison the body. Together with other blood changes, this complication can prompt a severe condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis that has to be treated as soon as possible.
Other potential complications that can occur are cardiovascular problems, nerve and kidney damage, eye and foot damage, skin and mouth issues like infections, and pregnancy-related complications.
The Difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Unlike with type 1, type 2 diabetes does not attack the pancreas and the production of insulin is sufficient, but the body is unable to use it properly.