Type 2 diabetes is a more common form of diabetes but individuals have also been known to suffer from type 1 diabetes. What is it and how can it be treated?
What it is
Our bodies normally convert food to glucose which is assisted by insulin into our cells to be used as an energy source. People who have type 1 diabetes cannot make enough insulin. The lack of insulin results in the build up of glucose in the blood which in turn could lead to damages to the blood vessels and other parts of the body. Type 1 diabetes is also sometimes known as juvenile diabetes but adults can be diagnosed with the disease too. The other term for it is insulin dependent diabetes because people with the condition have to rely on external insulin sources for life.
Causes, Symptoms, Complications
As with type 2 diabetes, the causes of type 1 diabetes are not fully known but genetic factors may also be responsible. Both types of diabetes also share the same symptoms which include but are not limited to frequent urination, constant thirstiness, frequent hunger and fatigue. Type 1 diabetes can also similarly lead to heart problems, stroke, blindness, nerve damage and kidney problems. It is important to note that there is presently no cure for type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes may not just result in bouts of elevated blood sugar levels but low levels as well. An episode of low blood sugar level is commonly known as hypoglycemia. This happens when there is more insulin and less sugar in the body. Sugar levels may drop if improper amounts of insulin are taken or if a person exerts too much physical activity.
You would know if you are having hypoglycemia if you suddenly lose concentration, feel fatigued and feel like fainting. Sweating and twitching may also be signs of hypoglycemia. When this happens, you may need to eat or drink something sweet. If you faint, your companion may need to inject medication.
Although type 1 diabetes has no cure, people with the condition can still live normal lives. The obvious first line of treatment is insulin medication. Your doctor will instruct you on the proper time and amount to take. Sometimes your endocrinologist or dietician may also teach you how to count carbohydrates in your diet. Counting carbohydrates will help you determine the right amount of short acting insulin to take before eating. A different kind of insulin may also be taken at night before sleeping to regulate glucose levels.
Aside from insulin a type 1 diabetes patient may also be asked to plan regulated diets and perform exercise programs. Your licensed dietician will be the best judge of what you should or should not eat. You may be asked to eat more vegetables, some fruits and whole grained foods. Exercise may also help with your type 1 diabetes condition since physical activity can budge glucose into cells. Your doctor may also ask you to regulate stress factors.