What Is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as “juvenile diabetes,” but it can actually arise at any age. In Type 1 Diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, which is necessary for the body to use sugar that fuels our cells. Generally, people with Type 1 Diabetes are diagnosed when symptoms suddenly appear, or they experience extremely high blood sugar (glucose) levels.

The exact cause of Type 1 Diabetes is unknown. Most likely, it is an autoimmune disorder. The tendency to develop autoimmune diseases, including Type 1 Diabetes, can be passed down through families.

Symptoms and Signs

Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells. This buildup of glucose in the blood is called hyperglycemia. The body is unable to use the glucose for energy. This leads to the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes.

High Blood Sugar

The following symptoms may be the first signs of Type 1 Diabetes. Or, they may occur when blood sugar is high:

  • Being very thirsty
  • Feeling hungry
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Having blurry eyesight
  • Feeling numbness or tingling in your feet
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Urinating more often (including urinating at night or bedwetting in children who were dry overnight before)

For other people, these serious warning symptoms may be the first signs of Type 1 Diabetes. Or, they may happen when blood sugar is very high (diabetic ketoacidosis):

  • Deep, rapid breathing
  • Dry skin and mouth
  • Flushed face
  • Fruity breath odor
  • Nausea or vomiting; inability to keep down fluids
  • Stomach pain

Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can develop quickly in people with diabetes who are taking insulin. Symptoms usually appear when a person’s blood sugar level falls below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Be on the look out for:

  • Headache
  • Hunger
  • Nervousness
  • Rapid heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Weakness

Treating Type 1 Diabetes

People with Type 1 Diabetes require insulin injections as their bodies cannot produce insulin. The goal of Type 1 Diabetes treatment is to maintain blood sugar (glucose) levels as near to normal as safely possible. Blood sugar goals are different for different age groups and change as children grow into adulthood.

Good nutrition, careful monitoring of carbohydrate and fat intake, and regular physical activity are also important to managing Type 1 Diabetes and preventing long-term complications.

If you are living with Type 1 Diabetes, we are here to help! Call us today to schedule an appointment!