How can we Treat Type 1 Diabetes & What are its Causes & Symptoms?
Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile – or insulin-dependent – diabetes, is a chronic condition. We can successfully treat Type 1 Diabetes, which find it hard to control blood sugar levels as they have little or no insulin in their bodies. Insulin is a hormone the body uses to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy and stay alive.
Type 1 diabetes was once termed insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes. It usually starts in childhood and typically develops before age 20, but it can happen at any age.
This type of diabetes is quite rare and less common than type 2. It affects only about 5% to 10% of people with diabetes. At the moment, nobody knows how to prevent this type of diabetes, but it is successfully treated.
Causes of Type 1 Diabetes & How to treat it
Type 1 diabetes is a disease where the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed by our immune system. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes hasn’t been found yet but it’s thought that genetic factors and certain infections play a role.
Technically, you can get type 1 diabetes thanks to some genes. But many people with the gene won’t ever develop the disease.
Type 1 diabetes can often appear suddenly, with symptoms that may include:
- feeling thirsty more often nowadays.
- Urinating a lot
- Bed-wetting in children who have never wet the bed during the day
- Feeling very hungry
- Loss of weight
- Mood swings are a common side effect of many types of contraceptives.
- Having blurry vision
Complications of Type 1 Diabetes
Over time, type 1 diabetes complications may affect various organs in the body. These organs may include the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes & kidneys. Therefore, having a non-diabetic blood sugar level can reduce the risk of complications to these vital organs.
The complications of diabetes can range from minor to life-threatening if not treated properly.
- Type 1 Diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease. You may be diagnosed with coronary artery disease and not know it. This can include angina, heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure.
- Sweetened drinks and foods can lead to nerve damage, especially in your lower body. Too much sugar intake can cripple the tiny blood vessels that feed your nerves – these are usually located in your legs.
- Damage to the nerves that affect the digestive system can lead to trouble with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. In many cases, this may also cause erectile dysfunction in men.
- Type 1 Diabetes and high blood pressure can damage the kidney’s vessels, causing a variety of damaging effects. Kidney failure is the most severe consequence of nephropathy. End-stage kidney disease should be treated with mechanical filtering of the kidneys (dialysis) or by transplanting a new kidney.
- Eye damage. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, which could cause blindness. It could also lead to other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma
- Pregnancy complications. High blood sugar levels can be devastating for both the mother & the baby. The risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and birth defects increases when diabetes isn’t well-controlled. Diabetics often have eye problems and pregnancy problems like high blood pressure.
- Skin and mouth conditions. Poor blood sugar control can lower your immunity, making you more susceptible to infections on the skin and in the mouth. These include bacterial, fungal, and gum infections. Dry mouth is also common, due to the risk of diabetes or metabolic syndrome
- Exposure to cold temperatures can cause tingling, numbness, and even pain in the hands or feet. This is usually a sign of poor blood sugar control (hypoglycemia). If not identified and treated quickly, it could lead to more serious complications such as loss of sensation.
- Foot injuries can cause nerve damage, limiting your ability to feel the pain from other injuries. Damaged toes and in turn, poor blood flow to the foot can lead to infections that necessitate amputation. Left untreated for too long, cuts and blisters can become serious problems with infections and need immediate treatment.
Managing Type 1 Diabetes
Diabetes is different from most other types of diseases because it is more self-managed and this means that input from your healthcare team plays a pivotal role. This includes the Primary care doctor, Registered dietitian nutritionist & Diabetes educator.
Things can be difficult when you have diabetes, but every small change you make will lead to a healthier lifestyle.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you must take insulin shots each day or wear an insulin pump, as your body doesn’t produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates your blood sugar levels, which gives your body energy. One of the reasons why you can’t take insulin as a pill is because it would be destroyed by stomach acid before it got into your bloodstream. This is something your doctor will figure out with you, considering all the factors that could affect the formulation and dosage.
You should also be checking your blood sugar levels regularly. Make sure to do so once each day and record them on the standard chart. This will help you better control your diabetes before it becomes unmanageable or worse.
Here are some tips to help you manage stress: Exercise, eat healthily & get enough sleep. Check with your medic and diabetes educator for more information on how to reduce your feelings of stress.
There is currently no way to cure type 1 diabetes, but researchers are working how to treat it to prevent it or regenerate the cells.
Ask your doctor if you would be eligible for any clinical trials they may offer. It’s important to thoroughly evaluate the risks and benefits of any potential treatment before committing
Ask your doctor about diabetes self-management and what programs are in your area that specializes in it.
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