What Do You Need To Know About Type 1 Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to respond to the hormone insulin is impaired resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and high levels of glucose or blood sugar in the body.

There are four types of diabetes:

  • Type 2 Diabetes:A chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar or glucose.
  • Type 1 Diabetes:A chronic disease in which pancreas produces little to no insulin in the body.
  • Prediabetes:A condition in which the blood sugar levels are found to be high but not high enough to be Type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational Diabetes:A form of high blood sugar level affecting pregnant women.

Type 2 diabetes is the most commonly found form of diabetes prevalence in people. It is caused mainly due to genetics and unhealthy lifestyle habits. 90% of people in the world with diabetes are suffering from Type 2. On the other hand, Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that comprises of 5% cases worldwide.

While unhealthy lifestyle habits trigger type 2, Type 1 is caused by the failure of the pancreas to produce enough (or not at all) insulin for the proper functioning of the body. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows the body to use sugar (glucose) from the food (mainly carbohydrates) you consume to provide you with energy and to store glucose for the future consumption by the body. In layman’s term – insulin is a hormone that extracts energy for you from the food you eat.

Type 1 Diabetes

As established above, Type 1 diabetes affects the pancreas thereby affecting the production of insulin hormone in the human body. It is an autoimmune disease which is incurable. Type 1 diabetes is commonly known as ‘juvenile diabetes’ since it is majorly found in children and teenagers though it can occur at any age.

 The cause of Type 1 diabetes hasn’t been established yet. It is an autoimmune disease where it is believed that the immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Besides this, the other factors that are found to cause Type 1 diabetes are the genetic make-up of a person or exposure to certain viruses and bacteria.

The cases of Type 1 diabetes are generally found in places with cold climatic conditions. The lower temperatures fail to combat certain viruses and bacteria present in the atmosphere.

Common Symptoms of Type 1 Disease

The symptoms vary from person to person. Something as serious as Type 1 diabetes cannot be ascertained until and unless thorough and proper medical tests have been carried out on a person.

These common symptoms work as a cautious measure to detect the early onset of Type 1 diabetes in kids. The signs to look out for are:

  • Sudden instances of bed-wetting
  • Increased thirst
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Pale and excessively sweating skin
  • Continuous headaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme and constant hunger
  • Irritability and major mood swings

If a kid has more than two of these common symptoms, then it is time to consult your physician.

Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes

The diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes is made through the following blood tests:

  • Fasting Blood Sugar:This is the most common type of blood test done for diagnosing diabetes. The blood sugar levels of a person are checked by extracting a blood sample after at least 8 hours of fasting. It is therefore done in the morning.
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance (OGT) Test:This test is conducted when the fasting blood-sugar test results are normal, but the person has enough symptoms not to be neglected. In this, the person is made to consume glucose orally two hours before drawing the blood sample for the test.
  • Random Blood Sugar Test:As the name suggests, this test is done at any random time of the day. It can be either on an empty stomach or soon after a meal.
  • HbA1C Test:This is the best way to diagnose diabetes. In this test, the blood sugar level of the past few months (mostly six months) is derived.

Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

Since Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, there is no permanent cure for it. However, a diagnosed person can live a normal life with the help of insulin treatment that helps in maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar in the body.

The Insulin Treatment: This is the most commonly practiced treatment for Type 1 diabetes. The diagnosed person is prescribed insulin injections by the physician. These injections help the bloodstream to produce glucose thereby providing energy to the body. The dosage of insulin varies from person to person and is mostly dependent upon factors such as insulin levels, height, weight, and age of the person.

Living with Type 1 Diabetes

Apart from insulin injections, it is essential to maintain healthy lifestyle habits to keep the risks of Type 1 diabetes at bay. Healthy and clean eating, regular physical exercise and proper sleep are as important as taking the insulin injections.

The Shifting Goalposts Of Popular Health Parameters And What Those Mean For Us

Here’s the irony we all seem to live with – while technology is giving us more and more opportunities to stay ahead of time, somewhere it is also making us too dependent on circumstances. The changing focus on health concerns rightly compliments this argument. While every person, irrespective of profession and gender, ideally needs to take care of health and stay fit, this is all the more true for working professionals who deal with long and stressful work hours. Consequently, diabetes, cholesterol, and thyroid top the list of most common health concerns faced by the working class.

Change in Health Parameters

Earlier the parameter set to identify if a person was diabetic, for example, was if the fasting blood sugar level was above 140 (i.e. 140 milligrams of glucose per decilitre of blood). However, in 1997, the Expert Committee on the Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus brought down the number to 126. This was probably more from a preventive point of view wherein; experts felt that sooner a condition was treated better the chances of a person from avoiding the dreaded health condition altogether. Unfortunately, this decision meant that all of a sudden almost 1.6 million people who were otherwise “healthy” (since their blood sugar level was in the previous good range of 126-140) suddenly were declared diabetic. The same goes for measuring cholesterol. While the cholesterol level earlier was considered a risk at 300, over the years as research progressed it came down to 240 and eventually has settled at 200, thus bringing in almost 42 million people in the category of high cholesterol patients.

The other health problem which is seen to greatly impact the population is thyroid. Thyroid, too, was always a concern but never with the same gravity that it demands now. Hypothyroidism affects about 4-5% of the people across the globe and in India, one in ten adults go through it. Statistics state that women are much more at a risk and need to take precautions from early on. Such numbers further promote research and force the medical fraternity to take the results even more seriously. However, the more focus the problems get, the more the number of people seem to “suffer” from it.

Change in the Treatment Outlook

As a result, the treatment patterns also have considerably undergone a change. Everyone now stresses on preventive measures vis-à-vis earlier times when a health problem was treated as and when it occurred. It could be because of the fact that since there is so less time to spare, people prefer taking extra cautions to stay healthy rather than later spend time making visits to a doctor. From the doctors’ perspective, they would prefer avoiding an unwarranted health scare by prescribing medicines to counter a possible situation than having to deal with it at a later stage. It also implies monetary profits for the healthcare business sector. That makes the increasingly lowered threshold levels slightly difficult to accept. But for the common man, the risk seems too great compared to money spent.

Resultant Situation

More importantly, what this situation has resulted in is an over-cautious generation. Lowered ideal health range levels may make people take cognisance of their eating habits, exercise routines, and so on. But they also forget the fact that excessively worrying about a certain health aspect will not take away the problem entirely; while cholesterol is the primary cause of a heart attack it can also occur due to unhealthy lifestyles, smoking, etc. Another example is of the BMI (Body Mass Index). In the beginning, BMI was essentially used as a measure for body weight, and, thus, to basically remain in the healthy bracket. It helped in predicting cardiovascular diseases or nutritional competencies. Now, as with other health parameters expanding their scope, so has this simple figure. Health specialists have lately arrived at a Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR) which when used along with the BMI apparently better predicts more serious disorders such as diabetes, lipid problems, atherosclerosis, and so on.

In some ways, this sounds greatly helpful. Yet, it is also important to remember that over-diagnosis can be problematic as well. Imagine the number of medicines one consumes these days. Somewhere it makes the body immune to certain strains of those medicines and hence when the real need arises, it is doubtful if that medicine will really have a positive effect. Many times, people even ignore the side effects of taking extra medications, just to ward off a future possible concern. The number of treatments available is endless as well. It is thus up to the educated us to decide whether we will allow ourselves to be supposedly called “unhealthy” and where to stop in this vicious circle.


Fight diabetes

Diabetes is a lifelong disease that develops when pancreas stop making insulin. It is one of the most common diseases found among all age groups of people. Diabetes does not have an immediate effect on the human body but slowly and gradually, it affects each part. That is the reason it is also called as “The Silent Killer”. Unfortunately, people neglect watching out for diabetes thinking that it comes with age, but the fact being that Diabetes has no age to strike. According to a recent survey by a leading news channel of India, 16-20% of children in India, are suffering from diabetes.

Maintaining control of blood glucose (blood sugar) is a fact of life for people with diabetes. Uncontrolled blood glucose levels can cause serious health complications that affect nearly every system and organ in the human body. Regular blood sugar tests can help maintain safe blood glucose levels and lower the risk for a host of diabetes complications. Continue reading Fight diabetes

Indian medics find way to ‘fix’ insulin without needles

Indian researchers create breakthrough method of delivering the  insulin pill. The days of injections seem truly numbered now

Insulin Pills Image Courtesy: israel21c.org
Insulin Pills
Image Courtesy: israel21c.org

This is probably the sweetest bit of news for diabetics around the world, and it is coming from India.

A report in the Medical News Today says that Indian researchers have figured out a way to ‘fix’ the insulin pill in the body.

Till now, one of the biggest obstacles was in delivering the insulin pill to the gut in a way that it can be absorbed by the body. A team of researchers at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research have found a method to do this: wrap insulin in little sacs of liposomes, which are made of the same material as cell membranes. Continue reading Indian medics find way to ‘fix’ insulin without needles