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
- 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.