Type 1 diabetes is one of those chronic conditions wherein the pancreas responsible for making insulin gets destroyed. As a result, your body cannot make insulin anymore. Insulin is a crucial hormone that assists your body cells in utilizing glucose to generate energy. Insulin permits the glucose from your food to pass into your cells via your bloodstream.
Once the cells receive enough glucose, the extra amount now called the blood sugar is stored in your liver and muscular tissues in the form of glycogen. Whenever you need instant energy during exercise, between meals, or while sleeping, this glycogen is converted into blood sugar and instantly released for an energy boost.
Patients of type 1 diabetes have lower insulin levels and therefore cannot process glucose and it cannot be converted or stored into the cells by itself. As a result, your bloodstream gets loaded with too much glucose which in turn causes various short-term or long-term health issues.
Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms
Some common symptoms of type 1 diabetes include blurred vision, excessive hunger, fatigue, excessive thirst, dramatic weight loss over a short time, and frequent urination. Some patients may develop a complication called ketoacidosis, which involves rapid breathing, nausea, dryness of skin and mouth, flushed face, stomach pain, vomiting, and fruity breath odor. If you encounter any or all of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes, you should rush to consult your doctor. A person with symptoms of ketoacidosis requires immediate attention under a medical emergency.
Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
Diabetes can be either type 1 or type 2. Most of the symptoms are similar and may cause the same complications over time. However, both are considered to be different diseases. In type 1 diabetes, the body stops producing insulin on its own. You need to take insulin supplements for moving glucose from your bloodstream into your body cells.
In type 2 diabetes, your body cells stop responding to insulin. As a result, your body struggles in moving glucose from the bloodstream into your cells, despite the presence of adequate levels of the insulin hormone. The obvious symptoms of type 1 diabetes may develop quickly, while the condition of type 2 diabetes may take years to develop. Both conditions are caused by different risk factors.
Type 1 Diabetes Causes
The precise causes of type 1 diabetes are not well known. It is considered an autoimmune disease wherein the immune system of your body mistakenly attacks pancreatic beta cells responsible for making insulin. However, the reasons causing this reaction are still unknown. It is believed that genetics and environmental elements like viruses may play an active role in causing the condition.
Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis
A series of tests are conducted to diagnose type 1 diabetes. Some are quick with rapid results; others may take hours of preparation and monitoring. Patients of type 1 diabetes are primarily checked for the following criteria:
Their fasting blood sugar must be greater than 126 mg/dL in two separate tests.
Their random blood sugar must be greater than 200 mg/dL showing symptoms of diabetes.
Their hemoglobin A1c content must be greater than 6.5 in two separate tests.
Similar criteria are used for diagnosing type 2 diabetes.
Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes
Once you are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, your body ceases to make insulin by itself. Therefore, you need to take insulin so that your body can effectively utilize the sugar from your bloodstream. Here are some of the treatments prescribed to patients with type 1 diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes patients need to take insulin each day through an injection. Some patients may use a pump to inject insulin through the skin. Instant insulin doses help in balancing blood sugar levels. You also need to regularly check your blood sugar to identify the exact dose of insulin required.
Some patients may be given an oral medication called Metformin to cure type 1 diabetes. It is especially effective for people who develop insulin resistance along with type 1 diabetes. The medication helps in lowering blood sugar by reducing its production in the liver.
Your doctor may prescribe a tuberculosis vaccine to treat type 1 diabetes. The vaccine bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is proven to stabilize blood sugar levels for a long time.
Other over-the-counter medications
Various medications like Sotagliflozin (Zynquista) have been experimented to treat patients with type 1 diabetes alongside insulin. These medications work by reducing glucose levels in the bloodstream by forcing glucose expulsion via urine and reducing the absorption of glucose in the gut.
Exercise and diet
Patients of type 1 diabetes must eat regular meals to keep blood sugar levels stable. A certified dietitian can help you make an effective diet plan. Regular light-weight exercises such as aerobics, strength training, and resistance training also help in stabilizing blood sugar levels.