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Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

This lack of insulin makes the body incapable of regulating blood sugar levels, leading to a variety of symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, weight loss and blurred vision.

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can occur at any age.

While there is no known cure for type 1 diabetes, it can be managed with lifestyle changes and medications. These include healthy diet, focussed physical activity, insulin injections and regular blood sugar monitoring.

For more on diabetes mellitus in general, click here.


Symptoms

Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in childhood, thought it might occur at any age, and it can throw-up symptoms such as:

  • Increased thirst, leading to frequent urination 
  • Constant hunger 
  • Unintended weight loss 
  • Fatigue 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Slow-healing sores or cuts 
  • Dry, itchy skin 
  • Yeast infections in the skin or vagina 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Abdominal pain

If you experience any of these symptoms for an extended period of time, it is important to speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent serious complications from developing out of this condition.


Causes

While the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not known, there are a number of potential factors that have been identified.

Genetic factors: People with certain genetic mutations may be more likely to develop type 1 diabetes.

Environmental triggers: Certain viruses, toxins or other environmental triggers may trigger the autoimmune response that leads to type 1 diabetes.

Autoimmune responses: The body’s own immune system may attack and destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, leading to type 1 diabetes.


Diagnosis

Common tests used to diagnose type 1 diabetes include:

  • Fasting blood glucose test
  • Random blood glucose test
  • Hemoglobin A1c test
  • Oral glucose tolerance test

These tests measure your blood glucose levels over different periods of time, helping your doctor assess your risk for developing type 1 diabetes.

Your doctor may also order additional tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as:

  • Urine test to check for ketones

Treatment

People with type 1 diabetes must monitor their blood sugar levels regularly and take insulin everyday.

Insulin therapy involves giving the body regular doses of insulin throughout the day (2 to 4 doses) in order to keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range. This can be done through injections, use of an insulin pump, or a combination of both.

Diet and exercise are also important components of treatment. Eating healthy foods in regular, balanced meals and getting regular physical activity can help keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range.

Also, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels and regular visits to your doctor are important for managing your type 1 diabetes.


Complications of Type 1 Diabetes

Any poor management of diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes, is bound to be problematic and can result in moderate to serious complications.

Some of the ones include:

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Nerve damage
  • Eye damage
  • Stroke
  • Foot conditions leading to gangrene
  • Hypertension

People with type 1 may also be at increased risk for developing medical conditions such as:

  • Depression
  • Skin infections
  • Dental problems

If you’re type 1 diabetic, you need to be aware of the potential complications and take steps to prevent them. These include following a healthy diet, exercising regularly and taking medications as prescribed by your doctor.


How to Manage Type 1 Diabetes?

Well, in 3 easy steps you can do it.

1. Have a Plan

No matter what type of diabetes you have, it’s important to start managing your condition with a plan. This means working with your doctor to create a personalised treatment plan that’s right for you.

2. Stick to a Schedule

One of the most important things you can do to manage your type 1 diabetes is to stay on a schedule. This means taking your insulin and medications as prescribed, checking your blood sugar levels regularly and eating healthy meals at regular intervals throughout the day.

3. Make Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes is an important part of managing any type of diabetes. This means eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and managing stress.


 

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Sources: Mayo Clinic, CDC, American Diabetes Association, WebMD, NIH, Healthline, HHP, Diabetes UK, NCBI.

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