- Is a serious condition where your blood glucose (sugar) level is too high because your body can’t make a hormone called insulin.
- This happens because your body attacks the cells in your pancreas that make the insulin, meaning you can’t produce any at all.
- We all need insulin to live. It does an essential job. It allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and fuel our bodies.
- When you have type 1 diabetes, your body still breaks down the carbohydrate from food and drink and turns it into glucose. But when the glucose enters your bloodstream, there’s no insulin to allow it into your body’s cells. More and more glucose then builds up in your bloodstream, leading to high blood sugar levels.
The following are symptoms of type 1 diabetes:
- excessive hunger
- excessive thirst
- blurred vision
- frequent urination
- dramatic weight loss in a short period of time
A person might also develop ketoacidosis, a complication of diabetes. Symptoms of this condition include:
- rapid breathing
- dry skin and mouth
- flushed face
- fruity breath odor
- vomiting or stomach pain
Causes Type 1 Diabetes
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. However, it’s thought to be an autoimmune disease. The body’s immune system mistakenly attacks beta cells in the pancreas. These are the cells that make insulin. Scientists don’t fully understand why this happens.
Genetic and environmental elements, such as viruses, may play a role.
Managing type 1 diabetes can help reduce the risk of various complications.
- diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to vision loss
- diabetic neuropathy, which affects nerve function
- problems with wound healing, especially as nerve problems can make it harder to notice wounds
- diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease), which can lead to kidney failure
- cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease
- dental problems, including tooth loss and gum disease
- mental health problems, such as depression
Following the treatment plan can help reduce the risk of complications.
Treatment Type 1 Diabetes
The main treatment for type 1 diabetes is insulin. People can take it using:
- a needle and syringe
- an insulin pen
- an insulin pump
If insulin does not fully control glucose levels, some people may need additional mediation, such as Pramlintide (Symlin), which helps manage glucose levels after eating.
A doctor will advise on the best option for each person.
Is Type 1 Diabetes Dangerous?
A person with untreated type 1 diabetes is at risk of developing DKA, which can be life threatening.
If they take too much insulin, they also face a risk of hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar. Symptoms include:
- in some cases, death
In the long term, a person with type 1 diabetes will also have a higher risk of complications that can affect the nervous system, cardiovascular health, and other body systems. Some of these can be life threatening.