Diabetes mellitus or Type 1 Diabetes, is typically diagnosed in children, teenagers and young adults. Only 10% of diabetics have this form of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the pancreas stops producing insulin or produces very little insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent Type 1 Diabetes, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it.
- Frequent urination
- Frequent and extreme thirst
- Frequent hunger
- Sudden changes in vision
- Weight loss
- Trouble breathing
- Ketones (sugar) in urine
If any of these symptoms are present please contact a healthcare professional immediately. Early detection and diagnosis can decrease the risk of complications from diabetes.
Many people with type 1 diabetes live long, healthy lives. The key to good health is keeping your blood sugar levels within your target range, which can be done with meal planning, exercise, and intensive insulin therapy. All people with type 1 diabetes must use insulin injections to control their blood sugar or with the use of an insulin pump which makes it much more easier to manage , however, requires a significant upfront financial investment.You will also need to check your blood sugar levels regularly and make adjustment of insulin, food, and activities to maintain a normal sugar.
When type 1 diabetes isn't well controlled, a number of serious or life-threatening problems may develop, including:
- Retinopathy (Eye Damage). This eye problem occurs in about 80% of adults who have had type 1 diabetes for more than 15 years. Medical conditions such as good control of sugars, management of high blood pressure, and regulation of blood fats like cholesterol and triglycerides are important to prevent retinopathy. Fortunately, the vision loss can be prevented in most people with the condition.
- Kidney damage. About 20% to 30% of people with type 1 diabetes develop kidney damage, a condition called nephropathy. The risk for kidney disease increases over time and becomes evident 15 to 25 years after the onset of the disease. This complication carries significant risk of serious illness -- such as kidney failure and heart disease.
- Poor blood circulation and nerve damage. Damage to nerves and hardening of the arteries leads to decreased sensation and poor blood circulation in the feet. This can lead to increased risk of injury and decreased ability to heal open sores and wounds, which in turn significantly raises the risk of amputation. Damage to nerves may also lead to digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
- Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
- Cardiovascular disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis). If you have diabetes, you are more likely to have heart disease or stroke.