Type 1 Diabetes

About Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus:

Type 1 diabetes is a unique condition in which the body’s immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas, which produce insulin. Insulin is responsible for transporting sugars into cells in the body and in its absence, the body does not get the energy it needs and sugar piles up in the blood leading to dangerous complications.

Type 1 Diabetes is also called ‘Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus’ (IDDM) and ‘Juvenile onset Diabetes Mellitus’. In Type1 diabetes, the patient needs to be given Insulin as the body fails to produce insulin or produces very little of it. Hence it is called ‘Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus’ (IDDM). It is also called ‘Juvenile onset Diabetes Mellitus’ as it is seen in people below 30 years of age, more commonly in children of 10-14 years age group. It is estimated that 10% of all the cases of diabetes are Type 1. Type1 Diabetes Mellitus can be lethal if it isn’t diagnosed and treated at the earliest.

Causes of Type 1 Diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes develops when our immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas which are responsible for producing insulin. Thus, those suffering from Type 1 Diabetes cannot produce insulin in their own bodies. Type 1 diabetes could be inherited from your parents but often those who are diagnosed have no family history of diabetes.

Types of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes is further divided into two categories based o the cause, Type 1A and Type 1B.

Type 1A Diabetes : This is an ‘auto-immune’ disorder, meaning the body  produces certain cells(auto-antibodies) that attack the body itself. These auto-antibodies are produced against the Pancreatic beta cells which, are responsible for producing Insulin. No Insulin = Excess Glucose = Diabetes. 90% cases of Type1 belong to this sub-type.

Type 1B Diabetes : This is an ‘idiopathic’ disorder, meaning the cause is not known.  10% of Type1 belong to this sub-type.

Signs and Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes:

  • Increased amount of urine production or passage (Polyuria)
  • Increased thirst  (Poludipsia)
  • Increased hunger (Polyphagia)
  •  The patients are below 30 years of age, mostly in the 10-14 years age group.
  • The symptoms start abruptly/suddenly.
  • There is loss of weight.
  • Metabolic complications like Diabetic Ketoacidosis develops, more on this under ‘Complications’.

Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes is not a disease that can be cured by a few pills and requires lifelong treatment in order to keep glucose or sugar levels in the body under control. Following are the various modes adopted to treat sufferers:

  • Taking insulin injections according to the doctor’s instructions
  • Maintaining a healthy diet that splits means throughout the day in order to prevent blood sugar levels from spiking after a heavy meal
  • Regular exercise to reduce the probability of other diseases as well as to help the body use insulin more effectively