What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious disease, which, if not controlled, can be life threatening. It is often associated with long-term complications that can affect every system and part of the body. Diabetes can contribute to eye disorders and blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputation, and nerve damage. It can affect pregnancy and cause birth defects, as well.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects an estimated 15.7 million people in the United States.
There are three main main types of diabetes that require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional:
What is type 1 diabetes (diabetes mellitus)?
Type 1 diabetes is also known as diabetes mellitus, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), juvenile diabetes, brittle diabetes, or sugar diabetes. There are two forms of type 1 diabetes:
What causes type 1 diabetes (diabetes mellitus)?
The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, but it is believed that people inherit a tendency to develop diabetes, and that viruses may be involved.
This auto-immune disease results from the body's failure to produce insulin, the hormone that allows glucose to enter the cells of the body to provide fuel. This is the result of an autoimmune process in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells of the pancreas.
When glucose cannot enter the cells, it builds up in the blood and the body's cells literally starve to death. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections and regularly monitor their blood sugar levels.
What are the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes?
The following are the most common symptoms for type 1 diabetes, however, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
Type 1 diabetes often appears suddenly, and signs and symptoms may include:
In children, symptoms may be similar to those of having the flu.
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult your physician for a diagnosis.
A diagnosis of diabetes:
A diagnosis of diabetes is made when any three of these tests is positive, followed by a second positive test on a different day:
What complications may be associated with type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes can cause different problems, but there are three key complications:
Treatment for type 1 diabetes:
Specific treatment will be determined by your physician(s) based on:
People with type 1 diabetes must have daily injections of insulin to keep the blood sugar level within normal ranges. Other parts of the treatment protocol may include: