Diabetes, Type I: Help, Support and Overcome
Diabetes, Type I Overview
The human body generates energy by producing glucose from foods like potatoes, bread, rice, fruit and milk. For using this glucose, the body needs a hormone called insulin, which helps the body control the level of sugar in the blood. In case of type 1 diabetes, the pancreas are not able to produce the insulin hormone. As a result, glucose accumulates in the blood instead being used as energy by the cells.
Although, most cases of type 1 diabetes are diagnosed before the patients reach the age of 30 years, this disease can occur at any age. People who have a family history of diabetes are also at risk. It has been observed that African American, Asian American and American Indian ethnic groups are highly susceptible to type 1 diabetes.
Following the development of the disease in a patient, the eyes get affected when blood vessels in the retina protrude out which leads to proliferative retinopathy. This makes the vessels leak blood, which can block the vision and even the retina may be distorted. The damage to the retina can be irreversible; which is why the Diabetes Association in America suggests yearly retinopathy screening.
Kidneys get affected when the blood vessels inside the kidney become leaky. This causes the protein from blood to be passed along with the urine. Ultimately, some of the vessels collapse and the pressure is displaced on the remaining blood vessels. Because of this increased load, damage is caused even to the remaining blood vessels and this can lead to kidney failure. The American Diabetes Association suggests yearly kidney screening for protein in the urine.
High content of glucose can damage heart blood vessels and can cause blockage. If this blockage happens in the heart, it can lead to a heart attack. Studies show that the risk of heart attack people is 2 to 4 times more in people who have diabetes have than the normal population. Blocked vessels can cause pain in the legs. The poor circulation makes small cuts more difficult to heal. About 0.6% of diabetic patients have to undergo limb amputation later in life.
Type 1 diabetes affects the nerves which make us sense pressure, temperature and pain. Most diabetic patients suffer from numbness and tingling in the extremeties. The American Diabetes Association recommends an annual foot screening for diabetic patients.
Help and Support for Diabetes, Type I
Type 1 diabetes occurs when some unknown factor in the environment (like a virus) causes the immune system to erroneously attack the pancreas and completely damage the beta cells of the pancreas so that they cannot produce enough insulin. The various symptoms which indicate diabetes are unquenchable thirst, frequent urination, insatiable hunger, exhaustion, weight loss, developing sores, dry skin, tingling in the hands or feet and blurred vision.
The best way to prevent diabetes is to make some lifestyle changes. These include maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy, avoiding sugary foods and exercising regularly. For accurately diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, three tests are recommended: FBG test, Random Blood Glucose Test and Oral Glucose Tolerance Test.
Overcome Diabetes, Type I
There is no cure for the type 1 diabetes at present and treatment of Type 1 Diabetes focuses on damage control in order to live a long and healthy life. The first and the foremost thing to do is to stabilize the glucose content in the blood which may require hospitalization. Once glucose levels are stabilized, then the treatment is conducted on a daily basis.The treatment includes, firstly, insulin therapy. Insulin reduces the glucose level in the blood. However, certain side effects like weight gain, lipohypertrophy, hypoglycaemia and hunger are caused due to insulin medicines. Secondly, meal planning is undertaken to balance the insulin and food intake. Thirdly, the patient is advised to exercise on a regular basis as this lowers the glucose level in blood. And lastly, periodic blood glucose monitoring is recommended since the only way to know what the blood glucose level is at any time is by testing it. Fortunately, there are many commercially manufactured pocket-sized and portable blood glucose monitoring devices available that can check the glucose level in seconds using just a small drop of blood.