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Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes: Introduction

Type 1 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that is also known by the name juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. In type 1 diabetes the pancreas, an endocrine gland in the abdomen, does not produce enough of the hormone insulin or stops making it altogether. Insulin is vital to the process of moving glucose from the bloodstream into the body's cells, where it is used for energy. It also is needed to help the liver to store excess glucose.

Without sufficient insulin, the body is unable to process and use sugar properly to produce the energy that the body needs. Medically, this is known as an inability to metabolize glucose, which results in an abnormally high level of glucose in the blood, called hyperglycemia.

Left untreated, type 1 diabetes can rapidly progress into life-threatening conditions, including diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome, and shock. Long-term complications of type 1 diabetes are serious and affect every major body organ. They include kidney failure, diabetic retinopathy and blindness, peripheral neuropathy, kidney failure, serious skin infections, gangrene, cardiovascular disease, stroke, disability, and death.

Only about five to ten percent of all people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. The vast majority of people with diabetes in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes. Unlike type 2 diabetes, there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes. It is not yet known what exactly causes type 1 diabetes, but it is believed to be due to a variety of causes. These include an autoimmune response, in which the body's immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells (islet cells) of its own pancreas. Exposure to certain viruses and family history of the disease may also play a role in the develoment of the disease. Some other medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis and alcoholism can damage the islet cells in the pancreas and result in type 1 diabetes.

Prompt diagnosis of type 1 diabetes and effective ongoing life-long treatment to normalize blood sugar levels in the blood are key to minimizing serious complications.

Symptoms include excessive thirst, excessive urination, fatigue, extreme hunger, significant weight loss, frequent yeast infections and urinary tract infections, blurred vision, impotence, nausea,vomiting, anddehydration$. For more details on symptoms, refer to symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is easy to diagnose during a routine office visit with a simple blood test, called a fasting blood glucose test, which will detect hyperglycemia. High levels of glucose can also be quickly detected with a random blood glucose test or an urinanalysis performed on urine. The newest form of testing for diabetes is the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test, which measures the average overall blood sugar for the past several months. For details on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of type 1 diabetes.

Management of type 1 diabetes includes regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, eating a well-balanced healthy diet, and regular aerobic exercise. Type 1 diabetes is also always treated with insulin injections, and at this time there is no cure and people with type 1 diabetes have to take insulin for the rest of their lives. Insulin injections must generally be given two to four times a day to maintain stable blood glucose levels.

An experimental treatment that is currently being researched for type 1 diabetes is pancreatic islet transplantation. This surgery transplants insulin-producing beta cells from a donor into the pancreas of a person with type 1 diabetes. For more details on treatment, refer to treatment of type 1 diabetes. ...more »

Type 1 diabetes: Type 1 diabetes (also called "insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" or "juvenile diabetes") is the severe insulin-requiring form of diabetes. It usually affects teens and young under-30 adults, but can affect infants or children. Type 1 diabetes is far less common than Type 2 diabetes, which typically affects older over-40 patients (though younger overweight patients with Type 2 diabetes are now more common).

Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes are usually quite severe, and rapidly arise over weeks or months. Common symptoms include thirst, excessive urination, hunger, weight loss, irritability and various other symptoms. ...more »

Type 1 diabetes: Animations

Type 1 diabetes: Broader Related Topics


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