Diabetes has known to be one of the most common diseases in the world. Estimates say that numbers are dramatically increasing. In the last decade, the cases of people living with diabetes increased by 50 % i.e by more than 29 million Americans. It affects more than 380 million people in the world. Diabetes or diabetes mellitus type -1 is one disease that will be discussed here.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is handicapped. As a result, the metabolism of carbohydrates becomes abnormal and sugar levels in blood rise. There are two types of diabetes type-1 and type -2
What is Type -1 diabetes or diabetes mellitus type -1
With type -1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks part of its own pancreas. But the immune system mistakenly sees the insulin – producing cells in the pancreas as foreign and destroys them. This attack is known as auto-immune disease.
Cells called islets sense glucose in blood. In response, they produce the necessary amount of insulin to make blood sugar levels normal. Insulin allows the sugars into blood for energy. Without insulin, the sugar stays and builds up in the blood. As a result, the body’s cells starve from the lack of glucose.
Glucose is a natural sugar that your body uses as a source of energy. It is obtained from food. Extra glucose is stored in the liver and muscle tissues. It is released when your body needs extra energy between meals or during sleep. When insulin levels are low the glucose is not used up by the body.
High levels of blood sugar can damage
And can also lead to coma and can be risky to life.
1What is Type – 2 diabetes
This is also called as non-insulin dependent diabetes. This generally develops after the age of 35. Now – a -days, younger people are also developing this disease. People with type – 2 can produce some insulin. Often, its not enough. Insulin is important for the blood cells to open for glucose to enter. But due to lack of insulin, the cells do not open. This is called insulin resistance or type -2 diabetes.
This type of diabetes is often seen in people with obesity and sedentary lifestyle.
2Causes of type -1 diabetes
The exact cause of diabetes is not known. However some causes can be
- Genetics: the presence of certain genes can cause diabetes type -1.
- Exposure to certain environmental factors such as viruses.
- Family history: Anyone with a parent or sibling has increased risk of diabetes.
- Geography: The effect increases as you travel away from the equator.
The other factors include
- Exposure to certain viruses
- Early exposure to cow’s milk
- Low vitamin – D levels
- Drinking water that contains nitrates
- Being born with jaundice
3The role of insulin
When insulin is not produced enough due to the destruction of islet cells, type – 1 diabetes occurs. But if insulin, the key to controlling the blood sugar levels is not enough problems occur. So insulin has a role to play. Roles insulin plays are
- The pancreas secrete insulin into blood stream.
- Insulin circulates and allows that sugar to enter our cells
- Insulin lowers the amount of sugar into your blood stream
- As your blood sugar level lowers, your insulin secretion from pancreas reduces
4The role of glucose
Glucose is the main source for the cells that make up muscles and tissues. The role it plays
- It comes from your food and lever when energy is needed
- Sugar is absorbed from the blood stream into these cells
- Liver stores glucose as glycogen
- When your glucose levels are low, that is when you have not eaten at all, the liver converts glycogen into glucose.
In type-1 diabetes, there is no insulin to let glucose into the cells. So sugar builds up in the blood stream .It can cause threats to life.
Symptoms of type-1 diabetes are
- Excessive thirst
- Blurred vision
- Excessive urination
- Huge weight loss in a short period of time
- Lack of sensation in the feet
5Treatment for type -1 diabetes
One has to take insulin and manage diet and exercise to keep blood sugar levels within a healthy limit.
People with this kind of diabetes must take insulin everyday generally through injection. Some use insulin pump.
Insulin needs vary for the entire day. You may have to measure your sugar to find out how much insulin you need.
Diet and exercise
People with diabetes should eat regular meals and snacks to keep blood sugar stable. Also, consult a dietitian who can suggest a healthy and balanced diet for you.
Exercise can affect the blood sugar levels but at the same time remember to maintain insulin levels properly.
So, the major cause for type – 1 diabetes is lack of insulin production. It is advisable to take insulin and take care of your diet and exercise well. This way, you can reduce the effects of diabetes mellitus type -1.
By Pradeepa Polineni