If the pandemic has left us with anything, it is that health is your ultimate wealth. Today, less than 5% of people in the world are without any health issues. The other 95% have some sort of health issue.
As per WHO, around 422 million people in the world have diabetes. Further, as per another study, there are 8.4 million people in the world that have type 1 diabetes. Now, whether you have diabetes or not, this article will be helpful for you.
In the coming sections, we will take an extensive look at the definition, symptoms, causes, and treatment for diabetes type 1 in detail.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Well, diabetes is a state where your bloodstream has more than the required sugar levels. This type of diabetes is a further categorisation where the pancreas in a person’s body produces little to no insulin. Insulin is an essential hormone that uses the glucose or sugar in your bloodstream to produce energy.
Its is an autoimmune health condition which is also known as type 1 diabetes mellitus or juvenile diabetes. Under normal scenarios, insulin works like this.
- The body breaks down the eaten food into glucose or sugar that acts as a major source of energy.
- When the produced glucose enters the bloodstream, the pancreas becomes active and starts releasing insulin.
- The addition of insulin to the bloodstream helps in the absorption of glucose by the liver and muscles. The absorption allows the organs to produce energy or store it for later.
- When the level of glucose in the bloodstream decreases, it signals the pancreas to stop producing insulin.
If the pancreas stops producing insulin, the glucose will not enter the fat and liver cells, and the amount of sugar will increase in the blood.
Who is Affected by Diabetes Type 1?
This type of diabetic condition does not develop overnight. Though it can happen to anybody, it usually develops among kids in the age group of 4-6 years and 10-14 years.
As per a study in 2021, among 8.4 million people who have diabetes, 18% were younger than 20 years. 64% of people were in the age group of 20-59 years, and the rest of them were over 60 years.
What are the Symptoms?
This form of Diabetes can be indicated by various changes in your body. Some of the symptoms of juvenile diabetes are excessive feelings of thirst, weight loss without any effort, and increased instances of urination.
In children, unexpected weight loss is a common reason for diabetes type 1. Here are some more symptoms that are common!
- Being thirsty more than required
- Excessive feelings of hunger
- Blurred vision
- Slow healing of minor injuries like cuts and sores.
- Upset stomach and vomiting
- Frequent urination
- Irritation and mood swing
- Skin infections like gum, skin, and vaginal infections
- Excessive tiredness and weakness
In case of an emergency, the most common symptoms are
- Fruity smell
- Belly pain
- Shaking and confusion
- Loss of consciousness
- Rapid breathing
In men, diabetes can be sensed due to decreased sex drive, poor muscle strength, and erectile dysfunction.
What are the Potential Causes of Type 1 Diabetes?
There are many reasons why a person can have this condition. Researchers suggest that there is something in the genetics of a person that may lead to type 1 diabetes. Other than genetics, here are some potential causes for diabetes type 1.
- Viral infection: Though it may seem like an unlikely reason, there are some viral infections that can cause diabetes. These viral infections include mumps, rubella, measles, polio, influenza, etc. You may notice type 1 diabetes symptoms in the coming weeks of having these infections. Common colds or flu can trigger the virus.
- Injury to the pancreas: It is highly likely that if the pancreas faces an injury or is removed entirely, there will be no supply of natural insulin in the body. Hence, there will be a high chance of developing type 1 diabetes.
- Immune system attack: The third potential cause of type 1 diabetes is if the immune system of your body attacks the beta cells in the pancreas. Therefore, there will be no source of insulin.
What are the Various Risk Factors of Type 1?
No matter if you are a female or a male, it is likely for you to develop diabetes if,
- Any of your parents or sibling has type 1 diabetes.
- If you live away from the equator. People who live in geographical areas that are away from the equator tend to have type 1 diabetes.
Another factor that counts under the risks for type 1 diabetes is age. The highest risk of type 1 diabetes is at the age of 4-7 years and 10-14 years.
How is Type 1 Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is simple. If you feel that you have the symptoms, the health expert will recommend the following tests.
Blood glucose test: The doctor might ask you to do a blood glucose test. It can be a random test which is without fasting or a fasting test. If the sugar levels in your body are more than required, you might have type 1 diabetes.
Antibody test: Antibodies are elements in your body that attack the tissues by mistake. If the antibody tests come out to be positive, you might have diabetes type 1.
Urine test: When your body breaks down the fats to produce energy instead of glucose or sugars, the amount of ketones increases in the urine. When more ketones are found in your urine, you are indicated to have type 1 diabetes. Your blood becomes acidic at the same time.
Glycosylated hemoglobin test (A1c): If your blood glucose test comes out to be positive, you are prescribed an A1c test. This test informs the doctor about your average blood sugar levels for the last three months.
What are the Treatments for Type 1 Diabetes?
As we have discussed above, type 1 diabetes is caused by the inability of the pancreas to develop insulin. Hence, the only logical treatment for this diabetic condition is to add insulin to the bloodstream of a person. However, it is not that easy. There are many technicalities that need to be kept in mind. And not only insulin, but you also have to rope in the monitoring of blood sugar levels.
Now, if we talk about the delivery of insulin, there are various ways to deliver it to the human body.
Insulin pens: These are best for people with low vision. Insulin pens are somewhat similar to syringes with the difference that they are pre-filled with insulin. There are two types of insulin pens, namely disposable pens and reusable pens.
A disposable pen has to be thrown away once it has been used. In contrast, the reusable pen has a replaceable insulin cartridge that can be replaced once it has been used. Make sure that the needle used to inject insulin is replaced with each injection.
Insulin Pump: This is the second way to deliver insulin to your body. The pump method to deliver insulin to the body is similar to the way the pancreas does it. A catheter is used to deliver insulin to the body continuously and on demand. It is injected through the belly or any other fleshy body part.
Syringe injections: Syringe injections are the most inexpensive way to get insulin. The process of injection is undertaken by the doctor, who uses the syringe to get the exact dose from the vial. This dose of insulin is then injected into any fatty tissue of your body, such as thighs, buttocks, upper arm, or belly.
Inhaled insulin: This type of insulin is directly inhaled through the mouth, just like an asthma inhaler. Unlike other methods, this method of delivering insulin is the fastest.
As far as the amount of insulin is concerned, it depends on your body’s condition and many other factors. For example, if you are in your puberty or you are pregnant, the amount of insulin will be more.
As it is said, prevention is much better than cure. If you can keep the sugar levels in control, it will be the best for you. To ensure that your sugar levels are in check, you can use the blood glucose meter or an integrated sensor under your skin. Your doctor will tell you the blood glucose level range, and you have to abide by it.
On top of insulin injection and blood sugar monitoring, make sure you maintain a diabetes diet. Include fiber-rich foods, avocados, nuts, and heart-healthy fish, among others, in your diet.
Type 1 diabetes is a condition that can develop with time in anyone. However, if you keep a good diabetes diet and keep a check on your blood glucose level, you can live a long and healthy life. Make sure you keep your doctor informed, no matter what you do or experience.
For the most comprehensive diagnosis of diabetes and to avail personalized treatment plan, make sure to visit the Santokh Hospital. We have the best team of expert endocrinologists on our team.