What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas, an organ about the size of a hand that is located behind the lower part of the stomach. These cells — called beta cell are contained, along with other types of cells, within small islands of endocrine cells called the pancreatic islets. Beta cells normally produce a hormone that helps the body move the glucose contained in food into cells throughout the body, which use it for energy. But when the beta cells are destroyed, no insulin can be produced, and the glucose stays in the blood instead, where it can cause serious damage to all the organ systems of the body.
For this reason, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin in order to stay alive. This means undergoing multiple injections daily, or having insulin delivered through an insulin pump, and testing their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day. People with diabetes must also carefully balance their food intake and their exercise to regulate their blood sugar levels, in an attempt to avoid hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions, which can be life threatening. This means that any food or drink must be carefully weighed or measured, taking into consideration carbohydrates, fiber and sugar alcohols so that insulin can be administered to balance out blood sugars. Additionally, a steady stream of insulin must be going through the body at all times, in an effort to mimic a healthy pancreas. Physical activity and emotion levels also affect blood sugar, so these things must be taken into consideration each time insulin is administered.
What are the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes?
The warning signs of type 1 diabetes include (but are not limited to):
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination (including sudden bed wetting after potty training has been established)
- Drowsiness or lethargy
- Sugar in the urine
- Sudden vision changes
- Increased appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Fruity, sweet or wine like odor on the breath
- Heavy, labored breathing
Unfortunately, many children are diagnosed when they are in a state of unconsciousness or when they develop Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) a potentially life threatening condition caused by blood sugars staying too high, for too long. Knowing what symptoms to look for can prevent damage to organs as well as save lives!!!
If you or someone you know are experiencing 1 or more of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your Dr as soon as possible. Don’t wait!!
For more information: Cure Type 1 Diabetes