Type 1 diabetes has also been commonly referred to as juvenile-onset diabetes. While it is generally diagnosed in children or young adults, this type can occur at any age.
Type 1 diabetes occurs with an auto-immune reaction where the insulin producing cells in the pancreas are attacked and destroyed by the body’s own immune system. Insulin is needed to maintain normal blood glucose levels and to move the glucose into the cells where they are used for food and energy. When the insulin producing cells are destroyed over time and the pancreas can no longer produce enough if any insulin, the body is unable to use the circulating blood sugar. For those with Type 1, insulin is required by injection or through the use of an insulin pump in order to survive.
Statistics of Type 1 Diabetes
In the U.S., approximately 1.25 million people have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes with an estimated 40,000 more diagnosed every year. Type 1 diabetes can be managed extremely well allowing those with this type to live long healthy lives if they work to keep their blood glucose levels within a safe healthy range.
Cause of Type 1 Diabetes
Scientists are not sure what causes Type 1 diabetes, but research into the cause and prevention, as well as development of the most effective treatment continues.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes often develop quickly, over a few days to weeks, and are caused by high blood glucose or blood sugar levels. High blood glucose symptoms include:
- Urinating frequently – the kidneys try to rid the body of excess sugar in the blood by removal of more water through urination
- Being very thirsty – frequent urination dehydrates the body making you feel the need to drink more often
- Losing weight without trying – dehydration and loss of large amounts of sugar calories being flushed out in your urine before your body can use them cause weight loss
- Increased hunger – you may feel hungry as you are losing your energy (sugar) calories in your urine before calories are metabolized for energy
- Blurry vision – high levels of blood glucose builds up in the lens of your eye where it draws extra water into the cells changing the shape of the lens and thus blurring vision
- Feeling fatigued – your body’s energy sources (glucose or sugar) is being flushed out in your urine
Treatments for Type 1 Diabetes
Some treatment options for Type 1 diabetes include:
- Regular checking of blood glucose levels
- Taking insulin to keep glucose levels within normal ranges
- Plan for healthy eating and food choices
- Being physically active
- Get an A1C test at least 2x/year to track control of glucose levels
- Use support of your health care team to assist in management of your type 1 diabetes