Diabetes - Type 1 (Juvenile Diabetes)

By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Type 1 Diabetes - Overview

Type 1 Diabetes is also known commonly as Juvenile Diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes. This happens to be a chronic disease which leads the pancreas to produce little or almost no amount of insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone which is known to allow sugar or glucose to enter the cells in order to produce energy for the body. There are different factors that are known to cause Type 1 Diabetes. Some of these factors may be genetic in nature or could be present in the environment as per the exposure towards different viruses.

Though it has been known that the Type 1 diabetes appears typically during the childhood of a person, it has also been seen in adults. In spite of a great deal of research, no permanent cure has been found for Type 1 Diabetes. However, with the help of proper treatment, the disease can be managed and people can live a normal and healthy life.

Signs and Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes:

The symptoms for Type 1 Diabetes can come out quickly once it appears. Some of the noteworthy symptoms are as follows:

  • Increase in the thirst and frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • A great deal of weight loss
  • Increased fatigue
  • Blurring of the vision

In case you are able to see any of these symptoms, it is highly recommended to see a doctor. The major cause of Type 1 Diabetes is unknown basically. However, it has been witnessed in most of the cases that the patients suffering from it have a deformed immune system. The immune system of their body, which is normally meant to fight against virus and bacteria, goes on to mistakenly destroy their own insulin producing, islet cells which are present in the pancreas. Genetics too can come out to play a major role in this; however, the exposure to certain kinds of viruses is known to trigger this disease basically.

The role of insulin is considered to be tremendous for causing Type 1 Diabetes. Once the islet cells are destroyed in the pancreas there is little or almost no production of insulin by the body. Insulin is known to be the hormone which is produced by the pancreas and therefore, enables the body sugar to enter into the cells in order to bring out the normal functioning of the body. With the lower amount of insulin in the body, the amount of blood sugar too is lowered. Glucose – which is a form of sugar present in the body is one of the major sources of energy for the cells which makes up the muscles and other tissues.

Glucose originates from two major sources in the body – the food that we consume and the liver cells. When sugar is absorbed in the bloodstream, it enters the cells with the help of the hormone insulin. The liver is the organ responsible for storing the glucose present in the body in the form of glycogen. When the insulin levels are low in the body, the liver goes out to convert the glycogen into glucose and thus keeps the glucose level in the body at a normal range.

In case of Type 1 Diabetes, there is no insulin present to let the glucose to enter the cells. This goes out to make sure that the sugar builds up in the bloodstream causing life threatening complications to come.

Risk Factors For Type 1 Diabetes:

There are not much known risk factors for Type 1 Diabetes, however some of the major possibilities are as follows:

  • Family History / Genetics: If anyone happens to have a parent or sibling suffering from Type 1 Diabetes, he is at a greater risk of contracting the disease. Also, the researchers have identified some genes which are responsible for causing Type 1 Diabetes. In some of the cases, the genetic testing too has been done to determine the risks for causing Type 1 diabetes.
  • Geography: If people travel away from the equator, they are at a greater risk of contracting the disease.
  • Viral Exposures: It has been found that exposure to the Epstein Barr Virus has been known to trigger the autoimmune system of the body, leading to the destruction of the islet cells and infection of the same.
  • Dietary Factors: Omega 3 Fatty acids are known to offer protection against the disease. Drinking a large amount of water too has been known to do away with the risk of the disease. Also, consuming dairy products can increase the risk of infants being infected with the disease.

Complications from Type 1 Diabetes:

Complications tend to develop from Type 1 Diabetes. Some of the complications from the disease tend to be disabling for the person and may prove to be life threatening in the long run.

Heart Disease – Diabetes is known to increase the risk of cardiovascular problems in people. This may include coronary heart disease accompanied by angina, heart attack and even stroke in some of the severe cases. Narrowing down of the arteries along with high blood pressure are some of the other complications.

Nerve Damage – Excess sugar in the body can go out to injure the capillaries of the body, especially of the legs. Not only that, sometimes, the patient may observe tingling sensation in the body along with the pain towards the tips and the toes. With no controlling of the blood sugar level, people may also be affected with damage to the nerves and the gastrointestinal structure.

Kidney Damage – Kidneys contain a large number of blood vessels which are known to filter the waste from the body. With diabetes, people can cause damage to the filtering system of the body, which can further lead to the kidney failure, which may require dialysis and kidney transplant in the later stages.

Eye Damage – diabetes tends to damage the blood vessels of the retina in the eye, which can further lead to blindness. Not only that, it also increases the risk of contracting cataract and glaucoma.

Diagnosis Of Type 1 Diabetes

There are many tests in place for the diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.

  • Glycated Haemoglobin Test: This test is used in order to measure the average blood sugar level of a person for the last two to three months. Not only that, it can measure the percentage of blood sugar that has been attached with haemoglobin in order to check whether it is enough. It has been seen that a level of 6.5 and higher indicates that a person is suffering from diabetes.
  • Random Blood Sugar Test: In this a random sample of the blood is taken. In case the sample shows a sugar level of 200 mg/dl and above it, suggests that a person is suffering from diabetes.
  • Fasting Blood Sugar Test: In this a sample of the blood is taken after an overnight fast. In this, if the fasting blood sugar level is less than 100, then it is normal. Otherwise, it is found that the person is suffering from diabetes.

Treatment and Drugs for Diabetes:

For a person suffering from Type 1 Diabetes, the treatment is going to need a lifetime of commitment. Some of the daily routine that needs to be followed is as followed:

  • Taking insulin
  • Exercising regularly and making sure to maintain a healthy weight
  • Eating healthy foods
  • Monitoring the blood sugar level

 The goal of the treatment is to make sure that the blood sugar level is kept at bay. Insulin level has to be maintained in the bloodstream and there are two different ways of injecting insulin into the body.

  • With a fine needle and a syringe
  • An insulin pen, with cartridge filled with insulin
  • An insulin pump

 Healthy need of food as well as physical activity is required in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle for people who are suffering from Diabetes Type 1.

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