Type 1 diabetes

What is type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic health condition which occurs as a result of the body being unable to make insulin. Insulin is responsible for controlling the level of glucose in the blood and therefore people with diabetes have a high blood sugar level. Type 1 diabetes is much less common than type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90% of adult cases of diabetes; however, it is more common among children than type 2 diabetes.

What causes type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a result of the body’s inability to produce insulin, which is due to the immune system assaulting the cells that create insulin in the pancreas. Without natural insulin the body cannot control blood sugar levels and they become too high. It is not known why some people develop type 1 diabetes and others do not.

What are the symptoms and signs of type 1 diabetes?

Signs of type 1 diabetes tend to widen rapidly over a stage of 2-3 weeks and may include:

  • Being very thirsty
  • Urinating frequently, especially during the night
  • Having a dry mouth
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling hungry
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Feeling tired and weak

You should visit a doctor if you detect any of these symptoms, as diabetes can contribute to health problems when it is not given appropriate treatment. Once you have been diagnosed the symptoms will be brought under control very quickly.

Treating type 1 diabetes

There is no cure for type 1 diabetes but it can usually be controlled very effectively with the right treatment. Treatment for diabetes involves injecting insulin. As the condition is chronic people often get used to injecting themselves very quickly and it becomes part of their daily routine. The needles are small and the injection only needs to be placed just below the surface of the skin so it should not be painful. Injecting yourself may be very daunting at first, but you will soon get used to it and it will become part of your daily routine. Your care team will show you how to administer the injections and talk to you about when the injections should be given.

Diet is very important for people with type 1 diabetes. Once you have been diagnosed you will be looked after by a care team and you will be given information about diet, nutrition, exercise and your medication. It is imperative that diabetics look after their health and abide by the counsel of their care team, because if diabetes is not controlled properly it can be very serious.

Living with type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition which cannot be cured; however, it can be controlled very effectively with the right treatment. Type 1 diabetes will impact several areas of your life, but there is no reason why it should stop you living a normal life as long as you follow the doctors’ advice and look after yourself. Diabetes is linked to an increased risk of different health conditions, so you will be advised to keep an eye on your general health and see your care team on a regular basis, so they can monitor your condition.

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