Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes is an illness that occurs when too much glucose is present in the bloodstream. This happens when the pancreas does not produce sufficient levels of insulin, the hormone that helps utilize blood sugar. Diabetes falls into two categories, type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is the less common variety and tends to affect people starting when they are young. Unlike type 2, it is not linked to diet or lifestyle, but rather, to an underlying autoimmune disorder.

What Is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes. While it can occur in patients of any age, it most often begins in patients when they are young. This form of diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces little to no insulin, creating an insulin deficit. Typically, this occurs when the body's own immune system attacks the pancreas and prevents it from making insulin, making it an autoimmune disease.

Insulin is essential to the body because it is the hormone that carries blood sugar, or glucose, from the blood stream into the body's cells, where it gives energy to the cells to perform their daily functions. Without insulin normally created in the pancreas, blood sugar builds in the blood stream, and the cells cannot get the energy they need to function properly.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

Type 1 diabetes prevents the body's cells from functioning properly and leads to increased blood sugar levels. This can cause a variety of problems for the body, including increasing the risk for heart attack or stroke, creating kidney problems, contributing to vision issues, causing reproductive or erectile problems and preventing sores from healing.

Patients with type 1 diabetes are typically diagnosed based on their symptoms. The signs of juvenile diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Constant feelings of hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Constantly feeling tired
  • A fruity smell on the breath

If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms you need to see a doctor right away. Waiting to get a diagnosis of juvenile diabetes or ignoring these juvenile diabetes signs can allow blood sugar to accumulate to dangerous, potentially fatal levels.

The good news for patients facing a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is that quality of life for those in this situation is quite high. Modern medicine, with the help of a qualified endocrinologist, provides great options to help monitor and control blood sugar levels, so young people battling this disease have an excellent prognosis.