Monday, July 24, 2017

Some basic information about Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes happens when the immune system destroys cells in the pancreas called beta cells, which make insulin. Some people get a condition called secondary diabetes. It’s similar to type 1, except that it is not the immune system which destroys the beta cells. They’re wiped out by something else, like a disease or an injury to the pancreas.

Insulin is a hormone that helps move sugar, or glucose, into body's tissues. Body Cells use it as fuel. Damage to beta cells from type 1 diabetes throws the process off. Glucose doesn’t move into body cells because insulin isn’t there to do it. Instead it builds up in blood and the body cells starve. This causes high blood sugar.

What problem will a person with Diabetes type 1 faced?

1. Dehydration
When there is extra sugar in a person's blood, he/she pee (pass urine) more. That's how the body try to get rid of the extra sugar. A large amount of water goes out with the urine, causing the body to dry out.

2. Weight Loss
The glucose that passes out with urine takes calories with it. That's why many people with high blood sugar lose weight. Of course, dehydration also cause body weight to loss.

3. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)
If the body cannot get enough gluscose for fuel, it breaks down fat cells instead. This creates chemicals called ketones. The liver also release sugar it stores to help up in providing fuel for the body. But the body cannot use the released sugar in blood without insulin. Thus the blood sugar and the acidic ketones level rise. The combination of extra glucose, dehydration and acid buildup is known as "ketoacidosis" and can be life-threatening if not treated in the right way.

4. Damage to the body
Over time, high glucose level in the blood can harm the nerves and small blood vessels in eyes, kidneys and heart. They can also lead to hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

It's rare that a person will get Type 1 diabetes. Only 5% of people with diabetes have diabetes type 1. It's more common in whites than in races with darker skin color. It affects men and women equally. Although the disease usually starts in people under 20, it can happen at any age.

Doctors do not know all the things that lead to type 1 diabetes, but they do know human's genes play a role. They also know type 1 diabetes can result when something in the environment, like a virus, tells the immune system to go after the pancreas. Most people with type 1 diabetes have signs of this attack, called autoantibodies. They’re present in almost everyone who has the condition when their blood sugar is high. Type 1 diabetes can happen along with other autoimmune diseases, like Grave's disease or vitiligo.

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes are often subtle, but they can become severe. They include:

  • Heavy thirst
  • Increased hunger (especially after eating)
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the belly
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss (even though after eating and feel hungry)
  • Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
  • Blurred vision
  • Heavy, labored breathing (doctor will call this Kussmaul respiration)
  • Frequent infections of the skin, urinary tract, or vagina

If a doctor diagnosed that a person has type 1 diabetes, he will check the blood sugar levels, test urine for glucose or chemicals the body produced when there is no enough insulin in the body. Right now there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes.

Many people with type 1 diabetes live long, healthy lives. The key to good health is to keep the blood sugar levels within the range advised by doctor. It is important to check of blood sugar level frequently and adjust insulin, food, and activities as needed.

This is a link to a girl who had Type 1 diabetes since 12 years old. She is sharing her experience on managing the problem.

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