Type 1 Diabetes: Causes, Risk Factors, Signs, Complications and Treatment
Type 1 diabetes is actually a chronic disease. In this type of diabetes, the cells in the pancreas which make insulin are destroyed, and the body is not capable of producing insulin. People should know that insulin is a hormone which helps the cells of our body use natural sugar for energy.
This natural sugar is also known by the name glucose. Our body gets this natural sugar from the food we consume. The hormone insulin allows this natural sugar to pass from our blood into the cells in our body.
Our muscle tissues and liver store extra sugar, also known by the name blood glucose. This is actually released when we need extra glucose, like when we exercise, sleep or between meals.
In this type of diabetes, the body cannot process sugar because of a lack of insulin. This leads to increased blood glucose levels and might cause long-term or short-term issues.
This type of diabetes impacts around six million Americans. Type 1 is commonly diagnosed in adults who are younger than 30, children and infants.
Let’s begin by explaining the most common type 1 diabetes causes.
Type 1 Diabetes Causes
The exact cause of this diabetes is unknown. But it is believed that this is an autoimmune disease, i.e. a condition in which the immunity mistakenly attacks the beta cells found in the pancreas.
The beta cells are those who produce insulin. Also, it is unknown why the immunity attacks these cells.
Risk Factors for Developing Type 1 Diabetes
Same as the causes, the risk factors for this diabetes are poorly understood. But, some factors have been temporarily identified.
Type 1 race might be a risk factor. As a matter of fact, this condition is more common in white individuals in comparison to people of other races.
Autoimmune disorders like celiac disease and thyroid disease raise the risk of type 1.
In certain cases of this type of diabetes family history might be vital. In case we have a family member who has this condition, our risk of obtaining type 1 increases.
As a matter of fact, several genes have been temporarily connected to this condition. But, still, not everyone who is at risk of developing type 1 actually develops it.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
Below we will see the signs of type 1 diabetes.
- Weight loss in a short time
- Excessive hunger
- Excessive thirst
- Blurry vision
- Excessive urination
In addition, ketoacidosis is a complication of this type of diabetes. The symptoms of ketoacidosis are:
- Stomach pain
- Rapid breathing
- Dry mouth or skin
- Fruity breath odor
- Flushed face
In case one has one or maybe more signs of type 1 diabetes, they need to consult their doctor. However, if people have signs of ketoacidosis, it is crucial to get medical help immediately. Remember that ketoacidosis is actually a medical emergency.
How Is This Diabetes Diagnosed?
This diabetes is diagnosed with a series of tests. Taken into consideration that type 1 develops rapidly, people are diagnosed in case they meet one of these criteria:
Hemoglobin A1c > 6.5 on 2 different tests
Fasting blood glucose > 200 plus the signs of diabetes
Random blood glucose >123 on two different tests
Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes
Those who have type 1 diabetes, need to take insulin on a daily basis. Usually, insulin is taken with the help of an injection. However, some individuals use an insulin pump.
What this pump does is that injects insulin by means of a port in the skin. For some individuals, this is easier than using a needle. Also, it may level out blood glucose lows and highs.
The amount of needed insulin differs during the day. Those who have type 1 diabetes measure their blood glucose regularly in order to find out how much insulin they really need.
Bear in mind that both exercise and diet need to impact the blood glucose levels.
Blood Sugar Monitoring
Tracking and checking the blood sugar might help us find out if we are meeting our goals made by our doctor and ourselves.
These trends actually help us understand the way our body reacts to illness, food, medication, exercise, etc. People need to consult their doctor about how and when to check their blood sugar levels.
There are blood sugar monitors that are used for individual tests and continuous sugar-monitoring devices which are used to map out trends. They are also used to alert us in case our blood sugar levels are dangerously low or high.
Exercise and Diet
Those who have type 1 diabetes need to consume regular snacks and meals in order to maintain their blood glucose stable. A dietitian who understands diabetes might help us to have a balanced and healthy eating plan.
Also, exercise helps us lower blood glucose levels. Insulin amounts might need to be adjusted based on our level of exercise.
Complications of Type 1 Diabetes
High blood glucose levels might lead to damage to different parts of the body. In case our diabetes isn’t managed correctly, it raises the risk of these complications:
- High cholesterol
- Increased risk of heart attack
- Kidney damage
- Eye issues, such as blindness
- Diabetic nerve pain
- Skin infections, mainly the feet, which might need amputation in severe cases
We hope this helps understand type 1 diabetes better. Those who believe they have type 1 diabetes, must consult a doctor immediately.