Type 1 diabetes essentials: Before understanding Type 1 Diabetes let us first understand the role of Insulin hormone. You put petrol into your bike or car to provide fuel & energy, i.e., to run the engine of your bike or car; similarly, your body cells need glucose to get energy out of it for work and survival. In addition, they also require vitamins and other nutrients to work efficiently. The meal you take provide sugar (glucose) or energy to your body. Glucose is transported to the cells through carriers like insulin. Insulin is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Therefore, without insulin, glucose can’t be transported – your cells starve without the fuel glucose and your body functions impair.
Whenever glucose is present in the blood, your pancreatic cells produce insulin. Which means insulin is produced in accordance with the amount of glucose present. With the destruction of beta cells, the complete system changes and you develop Type 1 diabetes.
What is Type 1 Diabetes? What symptoms does it cause and why?
You know that your body’s immune system fights off foreign particles including bacteria and viruses. But, if the same immune system for unknown reasons attacks your own body cells, say beta cells of the pancreas that produce insulin, then you will not have enough insulin for the glucose to be transported into the cells. Sometimes the destruction of beta cells is also due to pancreatic surgery or cystic fibrosis. All such conditions result in type 1 diabetes.
Symptoms of type 1 Diabetes
The sugar (glucose) does not get inside the cells because insulin is in short supply due to the destruction of pancreatic beta cells. As a result, sugar (glucose) accumulates in the blood and the body cells are starved. (You feel hungry)
The accumulation of sugar in the blood increases urination (the most common symptom of diabetes).
Along with the large amount of sugar lost through the urine water is also lost. This increases dehydration and thirst. (You feel Thirsty)
Sugar loss is equivalent to calories loss and water loss is equivalent to weight loss; as a result, many people lose weight and feel hungry.
Some of the Other symptoms include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained Weight loss
- Weakness and tired feeling
- Frequent Infections
- Abdominal Pain
- Rapid Breathing
What are the Risks of Diabetes?
As the body cells are starved, the fat cells breakdown and produce acidic compounds called ketones to provide energy. The levels of ketones build up in the body and increase acidity. The liver also releases stored sugar to help out. As the body can’t use up this sugar without insulin, more acid and sugar accumulate and results in ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening condition.
Poor Blood Circulation, Nerve Damage and Kidney Damage
Persons with diabetes are predisposed to many conditions including atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries), heart attacks and strokes and retinopathy (eye disease). Many people with diabetes may get retinopathy. Over the years high blood sugar levels may damage blood vessels and nerves of the eyes, heart and kidneys and predispose an individual to many life threatening diseases. Nearly 35 to 40% of the people with type 1 diabetes are at a risk of developing kidney problems. As the years pass, the risk elevates and becomes quite evident after 10 to 15 years of the disease. Such complications may lead to kidney failure, coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart attacks.
Nerve Damage and Increased Risk of Injury
Damaged nerves and hardened arteries decrease sensation and may result in poor circulation of blood and thus, increase the risk of injury and decease the wound or sores’ healing ability. This significantly augments the risk of amputation.
Who gets Type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 is common in people as young as 20 years age, but this may occur at any age. The disease is relatively uncommon. This may occur equally in men and women.
What causes Type1 diabetes?
The exact reason or cause of this disease is still unknown, but it is hereditary. Therefore, it is basically an autoimmune and hereditary disease.
How Is Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosed?
If your physician suspects type 1 diabetes, he/she will check for blood and urine sugar levels and also the ketone bodies’ presence in the urine.
How Is Type 1 Diabetes Managed?
If you have type one diabetes, you can live long and healthy life, but you must keep your blood sugar level under check. Proper diet plans, insulin therapy and regular exercise may help you. If you have high sugar levels, you can use insulin injections. Uncontrolled diabetes usually leads to retinopathy; therefore, sugar control and high blood pressure lowering measures, in addition to the regulation of cholesterol and triglycerides, are critical to prevent kidney damage and retinopathy.
How is type 1 diabetes prevented?
Presently there is no proper way to screen and prevent Type 1 diabetes. If you are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, then you must immediately approach to an expert to protect yourself from the adverse effects of type1 diabetes.