Type 1 Diabetes Facts

Understanding-diabetes

What is type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is all about insulin—a lack of the hormone insulin. If you have type 1 diabetes, then your body doesn’t produce enough insulin to handle the glucose in your body. Glucose is a sugar that your body uses for instant energy, but in order for your body to use it properly, you have to have insulin.

What are the symptoms of type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes develops gradually, but the symptoms may seem to come on suddenly. It can take years for the body to deplete its insulin, but as soon as there’s no more insulin in the body, blood glucose levels rise quickly. Symptoms can then rapidly develop, including:

Extreme weakness and/or tiredness

Extreme thirst—dehydration

Increased urination

Abdominal pain

Nausea and/or vomiting

Blurry vision

Wounds that don’t heal well

Irritability or quick mood changes

Changes to (or loss of) menstruation

 What are the signs of type 1 diabetes?

Signs are different from symptoms in that they can be measured objectively; symptoms are experienced and reported by the patient. Signs of type 1 diabetes include:

Weight loss—despite eating more

Rapid heart rate

Reduced blood pressure (falling below 90/60)

Low body temperature (below 97º F)

  

What causes type 1 diabetes?

It isn’t entirely clear what triggers the development of type 1 diabetes. Researchers do know that genes play a role; there is an inherited susceptibility. However, something must set off the immune system, causing it to turn against itself and leading to the development of type 1 diabetes.

What are the risk factors for type 1 diabetes?

There are several risk factors that may make it more likely that you’ll develop type 1 diabetes—if you have the genetic marker that makes you susceptible to diabetes. That genetic marker is located on chromosome 6, and it’s an HLA (human leukocyte antigen) complex.

Several HLA complexes have been connected to type 1 diabetes, and if you have one or more of those, you may develop type 1. (However, having the necessary HLA complex is not a guarantee that you will develop diabetes; in fact, less than 10% of people with the “right” complex(es) actually develop type 1.)

Other risk factors for type 1 diabetes include:

Viral infections

Race/ethnicity

Geography

Family history

Early diet (especially cow’s milk)

Other autoimmune condition.

 

Misconceptions about Type 1 Diabetes 

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Myth:“You must have eaten too much sugar to get type 1 diabetes.”

Fact: Not so.

Type 1 is like being hit by lightning. It happens sometimes, and it’s not anybody’s fault. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes, and researchers are still trying to get a clear picture about genetic and environmental factors that may play roles, including exposure to viruses or bacteria that live in your gut.

One thing we do know, though, is that it’s not brought on by too much sugar.

 

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How is type 1 diabetes treated?

Type 1 diabetes is treated with a combination of insulin, diet, and exercise.

It’s absolutely necessary for people with type 1 diabetes to take insulin because their bodies don’t produce it. There are several types of insulin, and your diabetes treatment team will work with you to figure out the right dosages. Plus, they’ll walk you through all the details of insulin delivery (giving insulin to your body). .

Diet and exercise will help you control the effects of type 1 diabetes. Eating a healthy, carb-conscious diet will make it easier for you to control your blood glucose level, and researchers have shown that tight blood glucose control over the years significantly limits the development of long-term complications of diabetes.

Similarly, staying physically fit and active has many benefits, including keeping your heart healthy, which can prevent the macrovascular complications associated with diabetes. Exercise also makes it easier to control your blood glucose level.

Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia in Diabetes

 

Hyperglycemia can occur when blood sugar levels are too high. People develop hyperglycemia if their diabetes is not treated properly. Hypoglycemia sets in when blood sugar levels are too low. This is usually a side effect of treatment with blood-sugar-lowering medication.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease with far-reaching health effects. In type 1 diabetes, the body only produces very little insulin, or none at all. In type 2 diabetes, not enough insulin is released into the bloodstream, or the insulin cannot be used properly.

We need insulin to live. Without it, sugar (glucose) builds up in the blood because it cannot be taken out and used by the body. Very high blood sugar, known as hyperglycemia, leads to a number of symptoms. If blood sugar levels are too low, it is called hypoglycemia.

When is blood sugar considered to be too high or too low?

Slight fluctuations in blood sugar levels are completely normal and also happen on a daily basis in people who do not have diabetes. Between around 72 and 125 milligrams of sugar per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) is considered to be healthy. This is equivalent to blood sugar concentrations between 4.0 and 7.0 mmol/L. “Millimole per liter” (mmol/L) is the international unit for measuring blood sugar. It indicates the concentration of a certain substance per liter.

If type 1 diabetes is left untreated, people’s blood sugar levels can get very high, even exceeding 27.8 mmol/L (500 mg/dL). Blood sugar concentrations below 4.0 mmol/L (72 mg/dL) are considered to be too low.

Signs of very high blood sugar levels in type 1 diabetes may include:

Extreme thirst, drinking a lot and then urinating frequently as a result

Unintentionally losing a lot of weight within a few weeks

Noticeable loss of energy with muscle weakness, tiredness and a strongly impaired general condition

Nausea and stomach pain

Trouble seeing

Poor concentration

Frequent infections (cystitis, thrush)

Confusion and drowsiness, or even coma

If you,a family member or a friend have these symptoms, you should contact a doctor as soon as possible.

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Diabetic- Emergencies

http://Diabetic Emergencies: Diagnosis and Clinical Management

What is diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)?

How is DKA diagnosed?

Low blood sugar is most common in people who use insulin or take certain tablets to reduce high blood sugar. This is because things like unplanned physical activity, eating meals later than usual, or drinking too much alcohol can mean that you need less insulin than you thought, causing your blood sugar to drop very low.

Signs that your blood sugar is too low may include:

Racing pulse

Cold sweat

Pale face

Headache

Feeling incredibly hungry

Shivering, feeling weak in the knees

Feeling restless, nervous or anxious

Difficulty concentrating, confusion

These symptoms do not occur all at once. The signs of hypoglycemia not only depend on the blood sugar level, but also vary from person to person. If you are not sure whether your blood sugar is too low, you can measure it to make sure. Mild hypoglycemia does not usually have any harmful effects. But it is important to react quickly enough and eat or drink something, such as dextrose sugar or sugary drink.

People who have severe hypoglycemia may feel very drowsy and confused, and might even become unconscious. If this happens, someone else can inject the hormone glucagon. If this is not possible it is important to call the emergency services immediately and ask for medical help.

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14 thoughts on “Type 1 Diabetes Facts”

  1. Hi there!

    Amazing article about Type 1 Diabetes. I have some symptoms but I was never diagnosed with Diabetes. I feel quite worried because my diet is not that good, I am eating too much sugar and I know this is not good! I think we should always do health checks every now and then.

    My wife was diagnosed with the beginning of Diabetes around 13 years ago and she tells me the treatment was really harsh! She had a terrible diet and had to change completely in order to get back the insulin levels.

    Well, your post is really informative! Thanks for that

    Stefan

    Reply
    • Stefan very happy you found my article informative.Hope your wifes health is better now and her blood glucose levels are stable.its good to hear that changing her diet improved her health.

      Reply
  2. This is a great article on diabetes, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. My father has Type 1 diabetes so this is something that has been part of my life forever. You did a really great and thorough job of listing the majority of the factors. It is good for people to be aware of what is going on in their bodies and the key signs to look out for. This way they can catch it before too much damage is done. Diabetes awareness is something that is very important! Great article!

    Reply
    • Hi there,

      My father too had type1 diabetes that’s the reason I think I have it due to family history and genetics.

      Yes I totally agree with you it is very important people are made aware of signs and symptoms of diabetes so they can be diagnosed early before too much damage is done to the body.

      Reply
  3. Wow, I never knew that drinking cow’s milk at an early age contributed to getting diabetes. This site is packed with info and a lot of it I was unaware of. I thought I might have diabetes a few months ago because I had high sugar on one of my blood tests, but a subsequent test came back normal. I’m pretty sure I am hypoclycemic sometimes when I don’t eat. Thanks for this info.

    Reply
    • HI Shannon,

      While doing research for this website I too came across information I was unaware of even though I have had type 1 diabetes a long time.

      That’s one of the reason I decided to setup this site I thought by each of us sharing our knowledge and experiences we could help each other.

      I hope your blood glucose levels stay in the normal range.

      Wishing you all the best

      Reply
  4. The first thing I notice is how well the image at the beginning of your post stands out. That grabs attention.

    You have written an extremely in-depth post on both Type 1 Diabetes and Hypoglycaemia. In fact it’s virtually a one stop reference point for anyone wanting information on these conditions. I have a friend with diabetes and brother who is hypoglycaemic. I will share your post with them so they can read it too.

    Reply
    • Hi Darren,

      Thanks so much for your encouraging comments.

      When i was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes i had a load of questions i needed answers.

      My aim in this post was to provide answers to vital questions about diabetes.

      If there are any other topics that your brother or friend would like to be included in this website please let me

      know i would welcome any input.

      Reply
  5. Hi there! Great, comprehensive presentation on Type 1 Diabetes here, defining it and covering its symptoms, signs, causes, risk factors, misconceptions and treatments there! Great additional insights on hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia in diabetes, and Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). Great choice of visuals, easy to read presentation and relevant sub-headings. I’d like to ask, though: does diabetes have any known cure?

    Reply
    • Hi Stephen,

      Really appreciate all of your positive feedback.

      Currently there is no known cure for Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes.

      So treatment aims to keep diabetics blood glucose levels as normal as possible and to control symptoms, to prevent health problems developing later in life.

      Though there have been pancreas transplants and attempts to use stem cell research to completely cure diabetes, there is no scientific or medical evidence that supports the idea a solution is on the immediate horizon.

      The cause of diabetes varies from person to person, what works successfully in one person fails in another. For the near future, any advancements will likely have to come from technology.

      Currently there are insulin pumps available, which are devices that the patient wears underneath their clothing. The device still uses insulin, but instead of daily shots, the insulin is injected into the device and provides insulin to the body as needed, much like a non-diabetic.

      The insulin pump monitors the blood sugar level constantly, and some diabetics consider it to be an artificial pancreas worn outside of the body.

      Most of the medical advances in diabetes have mainly benefited type 2 diabetics.

      The reason for this is simple. More than 85 percent of diabetics are type 2, so any medical breakthrough will positively impact a greater number of people.

      That said, type 1 diabetics can look forward to less invasive ways to inject insulin and monitor their daily blood sugar levels. Insulin pumps are one way to reduce the number of daily injections, and there is research being performed that will allow a patch, similar to what people who try to stop smoking use, to absorb new types of insulin into the body.

      Reply
  6. Very informative post, I learned at school about type 1 Diabetes and I was actually thinking “How unlucky those people must be”. It’s just like how you put it, that having this kind of diabetes is like being hit by lightening.
    I also learned that it always appears before 20 years old, but I’m not sure it’s so, what do you think? You know it better than me

    Reply
    • HI Ashley,

      Its great that diabetes awareness is now being taught in some schools.

      Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, but usually appears before the age of 40, particularly in childhood. Around 10% of all diabetes is type 1, but it’s the most common type of childhood diabetes. This is why it’s sometimes called juvenile diabetes or early-onset diabetes.

      Reply
  7. Recently I was informed by my doctor that I am borderline with my sugar level. I do not want this go get worse and I appreciate your very thorough article on diabetes. I am wondering if this is so because, I have been inactive for a while and I love eating rice. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Hi Rodney,

      Borderline diabetes, also called prediabetes, is a condition that often develops before someone gets Type 2 diabetes.

      It basically means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but theyre not quite high enough to be considered diabetes.

      Having prediabetes doesnt mean youll definitely develop diabetes.

      It is a warning of what could lie ahead, however.

      People with prediabetes have a five to 15 times higher risk for type 2 diabetes than someone with normal blood sugar levels.

      Those chances increase if you dont make any healthy changes to your diet or activity habits.

      Take charge of your health by focusing on simple dietary and lifestyle changes.

      Focus on whole foods and complex carbohydrates such as beans, wholegrains, starchy vegetables,low glycaemic index foods such as basmati rice instead of white rice and consume smaller portions of carbohydrate foods.

      For help in planning meals to prevent diabetes, make an appointment with a dietitian.

      Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise each week.

      If you are overweight, losing weight can help reduce your risk.

      A healthier diet and increasing your activity level should help you achieve this goal.

      Even losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight will help reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes.

      You could also buy yourself a glucose monitor to check your glucose levels at home.

      It can help show how certain foods affect blood sugar more than others.

      While finding out you have prediabetes can be upsetting, it does not have to mean you will develop diabetes,

      You can stop the progression to Type 2 diabetes if you make the necessary diet and lifestyle changes.

      Reply

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