What Is Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus?
Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the body produces insufficient insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Previously, type 1 diabetes was referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes or pediatric diabetes.
Food is broken down into its component parts during digestion. Carbohydrates are decomposed into simple sugars, the most abundant of which is glucose. Glucose is a crucial source of energy for the cells of the body. To supply energy to cells, glucose must exit the bloodstream and enter the cells.
Insulin, which circulates in the blood, instructs cells to take up glucose. Insulin is a hormone that the pancreas produces. When blood glucose levels rise, as they do after a meal, the pancreas typically generates more insulin.
Type 1 diabetes develops when the pancreas's insulin-producing cells are damaged in part or in whole. This results in the patient receiving very little or no insulin. Without insulin, sugar builds up in the bloodstream rather than being absorbed by the cells. As a result, the body is unable to utilize this glucose as an energy source. In addition, the high levels of glucose in the blood cause more urine and dehydration, as well as damage to body structures.
Diabetes type 1 is an autoimmune disease. This means that cancer begins when the immune system of the body attacks healthy cells. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system kills off the beta cells in the pancreas, which make insulin.
Why the immune system targets beta cells is unknown. Certain individuals are genetically susceptible to developing the condition. This does not necessarily indicate they will contract the disease. That is simply because they are more likely to do so. In people with genetic susceptibility, something in the environment, such as specific viral infections or dietary factors, may trigger this autoimmune disease.
Type 1 diabetes is not caused by how much sugar you ate before you got the disease.
Diabetes type 1 is a chronic condition. It is most frequently diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 16. Males and females are equally affected by type 1 diabetes.
Symptoms typically manifest abruptly and strongly. The most noticeable symptoms are frequently increased urination and intense thirst. This is because an increase in blood glucose leads the kidneys to produce more urine than usual. Dehydration occurs when a person's urine contains an increased amount of fluid. And dehydration results in excessive thirst. Children may start bedwetting.
Weight loss without appetite loss is also common. Dehydration plays a role in weight loss. Water has mass. Consider the weight of a gallon jug of water: it is around eight pounds. Type 1 diabetes patients who aren't well-controlled can lose a gallon of water when they don't drink enough water.
Additionally, weakness, fatigue, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting are common symptoms. It could be because you aren't getting enough water, or it could be because your body is in a condition called ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis develops when cells are unable to utilize the glucose they require for energy. As a result, the cells must find another source of energy. In reaction to low insulin levels, the liver creates ketones, a type of alternative fuel. Ketones are acidic compounds. When they accumulate in the blood, it is referred to as ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis can result in heart difficulties and neurological damage. Within hours, it can put a person in a coma or even cause death.
Even after type 1 diabetes is recognized and treatment begins, it can impact all body systems. It is less likely to cause harm to the body and symptoms if blood sugar levels are appropriately regulated.
People who have type 1 diabetes can have a lot of serious and even life-threatening problems.
Eye damage (retinopathy): High blood sugar damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina (the back of the eye, the area that detects light). Damage to the vessels can result in the cessation of blood flow to a portion of the retina or bleeding into it. Both of these events impair the retina's capacity to detect light. Diabetes can also result in the growth of new blood vessels that do not efficiently provide blood to the retina but leak and hemorrhage. When detected early, retinopathy can be halted with strict blood sugar control and laser therapy. If blood sugar levels continue to rise, retinopathy eventually results in blindness.
Damage to the nerves (neuropathy): Elevated blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage, resulting in pain or numbness in the affected body part. The most frequent type of peripheral neuropathy is damage to the nerves in the feet, legs, and hands. The nerves that control things like digestion and urination can also be affected.
People with diabetes frequently develop sores and blisters on their feet. If peripheral neuropathy produces numbness, it is possible that a sore will go unnoticed. If it goes unnoticed, it has a greater chance of becoming infected. Blood circulation can be inadequate, resulting in slow recovery. A simple sore, if left untreated, can develop into gangrene. Appropriate amputation may be required.
Nephropathy (kidney disease): Excessive blood sugar can harm the kidneys. If blood sugar levels remain elevated, it can result in renal failure.
Heart and artery disease: Type 1 diabetics are more likely to have heart disease, strokes, and circulatory difficulties. Hypoglycemia:
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can occur as a result of blood sugar-lowering medications or insulin injections (see Treatment section, below). Hypoglycemia can arise as a result of taking too much sugar-lowering medication or skipping meals. Symptoms include the following:
HeadacheBlurry or double vision
Hypoglycemia can progress to a coma if not treated with carbohydrates. Glucagon is a hormone produced by the liver that causes it to release glucose into the bloodstream. An injection of glucagon can also correct hypoglycemia.
The diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is based on a combination of symptoms, age, and blood testing. Tests for sugar levels and other substances are included in the blood tests.
Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) Testing. A blood sample was taken in the morning after fasting overnight. Blood sugar levels normally range from 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). If your fasting blood sugar level is 126 mg/dL or greater, you have diabetes.
test for oral glucose tolerance (OGTT). Two hours after consuming 75 grams of glucose, blood sugar levels are tested. If your blood sugar level is 200 mg/dL or higher after two hours, you have diabetes.
A blood glucose test was performed at random. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher at any time of day, along with diabetes symptoms, is enough to diagnose diabetes.
A1C. Hemoglobin (glycohemoglobin). The average glucose level over the previous two to three months is measured in this test. Diabetes is diagnosed when the hemoglobin A1C level is 6.5 per cent or higher.
Diabetes type 1 is currently a lifelong condition.
Regular checks are required for people with type 1 diabetes. Every day, they must carefully monitor their blood sugar levels. They will require insulin treatment for the rest of their lives.
This rule can be broken by a tiny number of people. Diabetics may require kidney transplants in the future. A pancreas transplant, or a transplant of the pancreas' insulin-producing cells (called "islets"), is occasionally done at the same time. Because the new pancreas can produce insulin, diabetes can be cured.
When someone's type 1 diabetes is extremely difficult to control with current medications, a pancreas or islet transplant may be performed even if kidney transplantation is not required. This method, however, is still in its early stages and is not widely suggested.
Scientists have recently come up with new ways to bring back the pancreas' own insulin-producing beta cells. These new methods are both promising and risky.
It has been demonstrated that there is no way to avoid type 1 diabetes. Vitamin D deficiency, which is extremely widespread, has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. Correction of the deficit, on the other hand, has not been proven to prevent diabetes. Similarly, eliminating cow's milk throughout infancy may help genetically sensitive infants avoid developing type 1 diabetes. However, there is no conclusive evidence that this prevents the condition.
Type 1 diabetes requires daily insulin injections for treatment. The injected insulin compensates for the insulin that the body does not produce. Type 1 diabetes patients typically require two to four shots per day.
People with type 1 diabetes must control their nutritional intake as well as their insulin dosage. A person can suffer serious hypoglycemia if they take too much insulin in relation to their nutritional intake or if they forget to eat. Ketoacidosis might happen if they take too little insulin or eat too much.
People with type 1 diabetes must test their blood sugar levels multiple times per day in order to correctly adjust their insulin intake. They do this by analyzing a blood sample. Pricking their finger and putting a small drop of blood on a test strip are required. The test strip is put into a glucose monitoring device. Within seconds, a reliable readout of blood sugar levels is returned.
Newer glucose monitors use test strips that draw blood straight from the pricked area. This procedure necessitates less blood. Blood can be drawn from the forearm, thigh, or fleshy area of the hand on other monitors. It is possible that this will be less painful.
Some people use a syringe for injections. Other people use semiautomatic injector pens that help them get the right doses of insulin.
Insulin pumps are being used by an increasing number of patients. Insulin pumps use a needle inserted beneath the skin to administer a regulated amount of insulin. The insulin pump is carried in the bodypack. Some insulin pumps have a sensor that constantly monitors blood sugar levels and modifies the insulin dose accordingly. It's not yet clear if devices with such sensors contribute to better health.
Depending on the number of carbohydrates consumed, fast-acting insulin may be administered as needed. Your doctor or nutritionist can help you figure out the best insulin and diet plan for you or your child.
A good diet and regular exercise are essential for everyone, but especially for diabetics. For people with type 1 diabetes, a balanced diet not only keeps their blood glucose levels stable but also helps them lose weight. It also entails eating "good carbs" rather than "bad carbs" and "good fats" rather than "bad fats."
A person with type 1 diabetes is often advised to eat, exercise, and take insulin at around the same time every day in order to keep blood sugar levels at a normal and relatively stable level. Regular habits aid in the maintenance of normal glucose levels.
Regular exercise is recommended for those with type 1 diabetes. People with diabetes, like everyone else, benefit from exercise to keep their hearts and blood vessels healthy. Regular exercise also helps to lower blood sugar by forcing muscles to use glucose and by maintaining healthy body weight. Ask your doctor how much and when you should exercise to keep your diabetes under control.
When should you consult a physician?
If you encounter an abrupt increase in thirst or urine, contact your health care provider. Weight loss that is unexplained should always be reported to a physician.
If you or your child has type 1 diabetes, visit your doctor periodically to ensure that your blood sugar is under control. You should also be checked for signs of heart disease, eye problems, and skin infections on a regular basis.
Your doctor will almost certainly recommend that you also see other specialists regularly. These may include a podiatrist who will check your feet and an ophthalmologist who will look for signs of diabetes in your eyes, as well.
Type 1 diabetes patients usually get used to the extra time and attention it takes to keep an eye on blood sugar levels, treat the disease, and live a normal life.
With time, the chance of complications increases significantly. However, if you keep an eye on and control your blood sugar levels, it can be a lot less.
The American Diabetes Association
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders