What is Type 1 diabetes?

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Type 1 diabetes is the type of diabetes that often occurs in young patients like teenagers.  This is the reason why Type 1 diabetes is also referred to as juvenile diabetes.  Most patients that have this disease are teenagers but older adults may also get this disease.  Type 1 diabetes involves an auto-immune disorder wherein the pancreas are attacked by the body’s own immune system and therefore could not produce insulin.  The hormone insulin is essential in regulating blood sugar levels. With the pancreas defective, blood glucose will rise to unhealthy levels while the other cells of the body will be deprived of energy for various essential processes.

There is no known cause for type 1 diabetes.  Medical experts believe that genetics and viral infection may also lead to the development of this auto-immune disorder.  Patients who are diagnosed to have type 1 diabetes will experience the classic symptoms of polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia, and weight loss.  Some patients may also experience fatigue and dry mouth.  with no insulin to regulate blood glucose, patients are advised to take regular insulin shots.  Most insulin medication are administered via injection.  Latest technology in the field of drugs has led to other insulin products which can be administered via inhalation.  The problem with type 1 diabetes is that patients need to be under insulin treatment on a daily or regular basis in order to control the symptoms of the disease.

No cure exists for type 1 diabetes.  There are certain drugs that target the immune system but none of them can cause permanent recovery from the disease.  The only way for people to stay healthy and live a meaningful life is to religiously take insulin shots and have lifestyle changes.  Proper diet and exercise are very much important in helping type 1 diabetes patients manage their condition.  For severe cases, if regular insulin does not work, surgery on the pancreas or the islet cells may be required by doctors.  If left untreated, type 1 diabetes could lead to heart problems, peripheral neuropathy, blindness, and possible limb amputations.

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