Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that arises from high blood glucose levels resulting in the body’s inability to produce or use insulin, a hormone generated by the pancreas to control blood sugar in the body. Both insufficient insulin and resistance to insulin can cause diabetes.

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes can be better understood by looking at the process of breaking down food by the body. When food is digested a sugar called Glucose, a source of fuel, enters the bloodstream. Insulin, produced by the Pancreas, then helps to move this Glucose into muscle, fat and liver cells, to be used as a fuel. Patients with Diabetes, have high levels of blood sugar, due to the inability to move sugar into fat, liver and muscle cells. This can happen because their Pancreas create insufficient insulin or their cells do not respond to insulin normally, or both.

According to the World Health Organization, 4 out of 5 people with diabetes live in low and middle-income countries. India however, has the unfortunate distinction of having the 2nd highest number of patients with diabetes, next to China. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that:

  • The number of patients with diabetes in India has grown from 19 million in 1995 to over 63 million currently
  • 11 percent of Indians living in urban areas over the age of 15, have diabetes
  • By 2030, the number of Diabetes patients in India will exceed 100 million
  • In 2011, India witnessed the largest number of deaths due to diabetes, at 983,000

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes is usually a progressive autoimmune disease, characterized by the body’s immune system destroying beta cells, the cells that produce insulin. The cause of this condition is yet to be determined, but there is strong evidence to suggest that it is due a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors, such as viruses.

 

Symptoms

These symptoms can be exhibited in both the first stages of Type 1 diabetes and when blood sugar levels are high:

  • Being very thirsty
  • Feeling hungry
  • Feeling tired or fatigued
  • Having blurry eyesight
  • Numbness or experiencing tingling in your feet
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Excessive urination

Other symptoms include:

  • Deep, rapid breathing
  • Dry skin and mouth
  • Flushed face
  • Fruity smelling breath odor
  • Nausea or vomiting, inability to keep down fluids
  • Stomach pain

Treatment

Due to the sudden onset and rapid progression of Type 1 diabetes, it is often advised that people who have just been diagnosed stay in the hospital. A weekly check-up, until blood sugar levels are also under control, is recommended. In addition to regular checking of blood sugar levels and urine testing, a review of diet including meals and snacks is often created by healthcare providers. In some cases, insulin injections are recommended. As the condition gets more stable, fewer visits to a clinic or hospital are required but in order to monitor and identify potential long-term problems from diabetes, it is considered a best practice to visit a physician at predefined intervals of time.

You are in the best position to monitor your diabetes. Basic steps that you should be familiar with should include:

  • How to recognize and treat low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • How to recognize and treat high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • Diabetes meal planning
  • How to administer insulin
  • How to check blood glucose and urine ketones
  • How to adjust insulin and food when you exercise
  • How to handle sick days
  • Where to buy diabetes supplies and how to store them