Type 1 Diabetes

Woman getting treated by doctor | Healthier me TodayType 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is a lifelong condition that occurs when the cells in the pancreas are damaged. When this happens, the pancreas will not be able to produce enough insulin. Studies have shown that most cases of type 1 diabetes are a result of immune system reactions. This reaction makes the body destroy the cells in the pancreas.

A survey conducted in 2016 shows that over 1.3 million people in the United States have this condition.

Unlike type 2 diabetes lifestyle choices can prevent, Type 1 diabetes isn’t preventable. There is presently no cure for type 1 diabetes, but the condition can be managed.  


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Categories of type 1 diabetes

Type-1-diabetes is categorized by experts into two groups – Type 1a and Type 1b. Below is an overview of each of them.

Type 1a

This is when the immune system is responsible for the damage of the beta cells in the pancreas.

Type 1b

The condition is sub-categorized into this group when there isn’t any evidence that the immune system is destroying the beta cells and when patients have periods when they need and don’t need insulin.

Symptoms and diagnosis of type 1 diabetes

According to the NIDDK, the symptoms of type 1 diabetes appear over a period (weeks or days). Below are some of them.

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Increase hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination

Diagnosis of type 1 diabetes                              

To determine if a patient has type 1 diabetes, your doctor will run a couple of tests. While some of these tests can be conducted quickly, others take a long time.

The CDC provided a guideline to help health experts determine if a patient has type 1 diabetes. Below is an overview of it.

A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is made if:

  • Random blood sugar is above 200 mg/dl
  • Hemoglobin A1c is above 6.5 in different tests.
  • Fasting blood sugar is above 126mg/dl in different tests.
  • When patients have other symptoms associated with type 1 diabetes.

How to treat type 1 diabetes

As mentioned above, type 1 diabetes doesn’t have any cure, but it can be managed. Below are a few recommendations your doctor may make to manage the condition.

Insulin

If you are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you will have to take insulin every day. You can do this with the help of an injection or an insulin pump. An insulin pump is a device designed to deliver a small amount of insulin through an opening in the skin. It is an excellent option for patients who have a hard time injecting themselves with a syringe.

The number of insulin a patient needs daily isn’t constant. That’s why patients have to test their blood sugar regularly to determine how much they need.

Presently, there are 5 types of insulin. Your health care practitioner may ask you to try a couple of them to narrow down the one that works best for you.

Metformin

This medication is approved only for people with type 2 diabetes. Health experts may recommend it if a patient diagnosed with type 1 diabetes develops insulin resistance.  

The medication will help to lower blood sugar by reducing the rate at which sugar is produced in the liver. Your doctor may ask you to take metformin in combination with insulin.

How to manage type 1 diabetes

To manage type 1 diabetes, you may have to make a few lifestyle changes. Below are a few of them.

Diet

Health experts usually recommend the Mediterranean diet for patients with type 1 diabetes. The diet is rich in nutrient-dense foods like fish, vegetables, and nuts. Meat and dairy can also be added to the diet, but they should be consumed occasionally.

Exercise

Exercising regularly can help you manage type 1 diabetes, reduce stress, and improve your mood. You can start with simple activities like jogging, walking, and dancing and work your way up. But don’t push yourself too hard.

You should aim to get at least 150 minutes of low-intensity exercise weekly. And remember to check your blood sugar before and after exercising.


FAQ

  1. What will happen if I don’t seek medical attention? If you have type-1-diabetes and don’t seek medical attention, you may develop DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis), a life-threatening condition that can lead to diabetic coma or death.
  2. What increases the risk of type 1 diabetes? The following are factors that can increase the risk of type 1 diabetes.  
  • Family history: When a sibling or a parent has the condition
  • Geography: People in countries like Sweden, Italy, and Finland have higher odds of developing type 1 diabetes.

Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!

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