Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus...
Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1 diabetes arises when your immune system attacks and destroys your beta cells thereby depriving your pancreas from producing insulin. These beta cells are  solely responsible for the production of your insulin hormone that regulates the level of your blood glucose...

Meanwhile, recall that the duty of your immune system is to help you fight foreign invaders such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and germs but instead of doing that, it starts to attack various cells in your body especially the beta cells that produce insulin.

You know that without beta cells you can't produce insulin and this results into what we call type 1 diabetes mellitus. And if care is not taken, this  high blood sugar develops into a condition that's known as HYPERGLYCEMIA -- a dangerous rise in your blood sugar.

Before now, type 1 diabetes was previously known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM),
Juvenile or childhood-onset diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes and Insulin:

Under normal circumstances, your pancreas injects insulin into your system automatically, whose
quantity is dependent on the size of the blood sugar (glucose) that was released from the food you ate.

Of course, your insulin aids your glucose to move into your cells and in the process releases energy. As your cells absorb the glucose, the amount of blood sugar in your body decreases. Once this decrease get to a lower level, your body then signals your pancreatic  beta cells to halt further secretion of insulin so that you don't develop low blood sugar level known as hypoglycemia.

That's why this synergistic relationship between your beta cells, production of insulin and your
blood sugar enables you to live a normal life...

...but unfortunately, the destruction of your beta cells throws the entire process into disarray.

So therefore, since your cells cannot absorb your blood sugar...they get starved of essential nutrients. Meaning that your body must look elsewhere to source the energy it requires to maintain its many bodily functions...

Symptoms Include:

This form of diabetes usually strike children and young adults, although disease onset can occur at any age. It requires that you must administer insulin on daily basis.

However, its symptoms amongst others include:-

  • excessive excretion of urine (polyuria)
  • thirst (polydipsa)
  • constant hunger (polyphagia)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • weight loss
  • Tiredness and/or Fatigue
  • vision changes and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and occasionally vomiting
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Frequent infections of the skin, urinary tract, or vagina

If You Fail To Control It?...

When type 1 diabetes isn't well controlled, a number of serious or life-threatening problems may develop as follows:

1.    Diabetes Ketoacidosis (DKA):

Let me explain...

Ketoacidosis results when your body begins to breakdown its fat cells in order to sustain its energy requirement. Since your cells are starved of nutrients, your body attacks its fat cells as alternative source of energy for its metabolism...

However, the end products of this fat breakdown include acidic chemicals known as ketones that can be used for energy. As you can see, the levels of these ketones begin to build up in the blood, causing an increased acidity.

Furthermore, it stimulates your liver to continue to release the sugar it stored in order to help out.
Since your body cannot use these sugars without insulin, more sugars pile in your blood stream.
Therefore, the dangerous combination of excess sugars, dehydration, and acid build up in your
body is known as --ketoacidosis and can be life-threatening if not arrested on time.

2.   Dehydration:

The build up of sugar in the blood can cause an increase in urination - - to try to clear the sugar from the body. When the kidneys lose the glucose through the urine, a large amount of water is also lost, causing dehydration.   

3.    Damage To Nerves:

Outside DKA, prolonged high blood sugar may damage your nerves and the small blood vessels
of your eyes, heart, kidneys and might lead to the hardening of the walls of your large arteries
resulting to a condition known as atherosclerosis: a situation that can lead to stroke or heart attack.

However, 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.

4.    Retinopathy...

... this is the gradual lose of your eyes-sight. It manifests, say after 15 years of battling with type 1...

5.    Nephropathy:

It relates to the damage which type 1 DM does to your kidney. Statistics have shown that about 20 - 30% of people with type 1 DM develop kidney damage which becomes evident about 15 years+ of onset. This complication carries significant risk of serious illness -- such as kidney failure and heart disease.

6.    Weight loss...

Most people with high sugar lose weight. This is because the loss of sugar in their urine means a loss of calories which provide energy. And that's why many people with high sugars lose weight.

Causes Of Type 1 DM

Although the disease usually starts in people under the age of 20, but may occur at any age. Meanwhile, one could inherit the tendency to develop type 1 diabetes, but most people who have the disease have no family history of it.

The fact is, only about 5% of people living with the diabetes account for type 1...and that's why
it is relatively uncommon. However, recent observation indicates that it's more prevalent in whites than in blacks and occurs equally both in men and women.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually develop quickly, over a few days to weeks, and are caused by blood sugar levels rising above the normal range i.e. hyperglycemia.


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.

Moreover, since you can't produce insulin, then it behooves on you to constantly provide your body with regular doses of insulin. And of course, this require a lifelong treatment to keep your blood sugar levels within a target range.

Good a thing, you can now purchase human insulin across the counter, though much expensive but far better  than those from animals...

However, remember that many people with type 1 diabetes also live long and healthy lives.

As you already know, the key to healthy living and longevity is by keeping your blood sugar levels within your target range. This could be achieved through meal planning, exercise, and intensive insulin therapy.

In other words, if you're living with type 1 diabetes, you must use insulin injections to control your blood sugar...consequently, you'll also need to check your blood sugar levels regularly and make adjustment of insulin,  food, and activities to maintain a normal sugar.

Return From Type 1 Diabetes To Home Page:

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