Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic health condition in which the pancreas makes little or no insulin, a hormone required by glucose to produce energy. Several factors may lead to type 1 diabetes including genes and exposure to certain viruses. Generally, type 1 diabetes occurs in children, but can also be seen in adults.
Despite extensive research, there is no available cure for type 1 diabetes. Thankfully, it can be managed and people with type 1 diabetes can lead healthier, longer lives.
Symptoms linked with type 1 diabetes
Signs and symptoms associated with type 1 diabetes include:
Factors associated with causing type 1 diabetes
No cause of type 1 diabetes
is known till yet. In most patients of type 1 diabetes, the body's own immune system accidently destroys the insulin-producing (islet) cells in the pancreas. Genetic mutations play a role in this process and environmental factors, such as viruses to a certain degree.
In type 1 diabetes, there’s no insulin to let glucose enter the cells, so sugar develops in your bloodstream, where it can cause life-threatening complications. The process is different in type 2 diabetes
, where the islet cells are still functioning, but the body becomes resistant to insulin or the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or both.
Treatment for type 1 diabetes
There is no cure for type 1 diabetes
but it can be managed by:
The objective behind the treatment is to keep your blood sugar level
as close to normal as possible to delay or prevent complications. Good diabetes management
can be demoralizing, especially in the initial stages.
Type 1 diabetes patients require lifelong insulin therapy
. After the diagnosis, there may be a period where blood sugar is controlled with little or no insulin. However, this phase doesn't last. Types of insulin are many and include Rapid-acting insulin, Long-acting insulin and Intermediate options. Insulin cannot be taken orally to lower blood sugar because stomach enzymes interfere with insulin's action. It has to be administered through injections using a fine needle and syringe or an insulin pen to inject insulin under your skin. Additional medications such as Pramlintide, High blood pressure medications, Aspirin, Cholesterol-lowering drugs
may be prescribed for people with type 1 diabetes.
Blood sugar monitoring
Despite using insulin therapy single or multiple times, you may need to check and record your blood sugar level at least four times a day, and more often. Watchful monitoring is the only way to make sure that your blood sugar level remains within your target range.
Healthy eating and monitoring carbohydrates
Diabetes diet is a myth it never existed in first place. However, it's important to focus on nutritious, low-fat, high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. A dietitian
will help you learn how to count the amount of carbohydrates in the foods you eat so that you can give yourself enough insulin to properly metabolize those carbohydrates.
Every individual needs regular exercise and patients of type 1 diabetes too, but only after consent with the doctor. If he agrees, you may choose between walking, swimming and biking. Embrace physical activities as a part of your daily routine. Remember that physical activity lowers blood sugar
, often for long after you're done working out.
Talking with someone suffering from type 1 diabetes can be helpful. You can enroll yourself to be a member of various support groups.