Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes affects the body such that it can no longer produce insulin.
Often referred to as juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes is a form of diabetes mellitus that is most common in children but can be diagnosed at any age.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that permanently destroys beta cells in the pancreas, meaning that the body can no longer produce insulin.People with type 1 diabetes therefore require regular insulin delivery to manage their diabetes.
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Type 1 causes
The causes of type 1 diabetes are different than those for type 2 diabetes, though the exact mechanisms for development of both diseases are unknown.
Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, is commonly thought to be caused by a combination of genetic predisposition and an environmental trigger, which causes the immune system to target and kill off its own insulin producing cells.
What triggers the immune system to behave this way is not yet well understood.
Theories include the possibility that a virus may stimulate the auto-immune response.
As more insulin producing cells in the pancreas are killed off, the body can no longer control its blood glucose levels and the symptoms of diabetes begin to appear.
Type 1 diabetes symptoms
Type 1 diabetes symptoms should be acted upon immediately, as without treatment this type of diabetes can be deadly.
- Above average thirst
- Feeling tired
- Needing to pee regularly
- Losing weight
- Skin infections
- Genital itchiness
Sometimes, type 1 diabetics may be mis-diagnosed as being type 2, particularly if the condition develops later in life.
Please see Diabetes Symptoms and Diabetes Signs for more information.
Treatment for type 1 diabetes
Lack of insulin production by the pancreas makes type 1 diabetes particularly difficult to control.
Treatment requires a strict regimen that typically includes a carefully calculated diet, planned physical activity, home blood glucose testing several times a day, and multiple daily insulin injections.
Staying physically active and exercising regularly, maintaining a constant weight and eating a healthy diet are all invaluable in type 1 diabetes treatment.
Although diet and exercise have a role to play in type 1 diabetes management, they cannot reverse the disease or eliminate the need for insulin.
There is also a sub-type of type 1 diabetes known as brittle diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes and complications
Type 1 diabetes is a serious condition which can lead to complications including:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
Whilst the list of complications is a scary prospect, the chances of developing these can be significantly reduced by maintaining good control of your blood glucose levels and ensuring you attend all your diabetic complication screening appointments.