Type I Diabetes: All you need to know
In 2017, there were over 9 million people (about half the population of New York) with type 1 diabetes (according to WHO [World Health Organization] reports).
If you or a loved one has been recently diagnosed with Diabetes, here’s help to make your journey easier. At Doral Health & Wellness we have all the answers you are looking for.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
It is a chronic hormonal disease caused by the decreased production of insulin by your pancreas. Insulin is a hormone responsible for managing your blood glucose levels.
Type 1 diabetes is also called insulin-dependent, juvenile, or childhood-onset diabetes.
- Autoimmune: when your immune cells (mistakenly) destroy the insulin-producing cells (Beta cells in the islets of Langerhans) in the pancreas.
- Genetics: certain genes and heredity are linked to type 1 diabetes.
- Environmental: viral infections.
Diet and lifestyle factors do not play any role in the development of type 1 Diabetes.
Signs of high blood sugar (Hyperglycemia) are often overlooked as they are very vague. These include:
- Extreme thirst
- Increased hunger (especially after eating)
- Frequent trips to the restroom
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequent skin infections (armpits, skin folds, nails, urinary tract, or vagina)
- Mood changes
- Bedwetting episodes in children
- Blurry vision
- Heavy, labored breathing (Kussmaul respiration)
Signs of an emergency: Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
If your body can’t process glucose for fuel, it breaks down fat cells instead, creating ‘ketones.’ The mix of extra glucose, dehydration, and acid buildup is known as ketoacidosis and can be life-threatening. Seek emergency care if you have:
- Rapid breathing
- Shaking and confusion
- Fruity smell on your breath
- Loss of consciousness (rare)
Type 1 diabetes can damage your organs if your blood sugar levels are unchecked.
- Heart: Diabetes puts you at a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, or heart failure.
- Eyes: Retinopathy (Long-term hyperglycemia can damage the small capillaries in your eyes affecting your vision and in the worst case leading to blindness).
- Kidneys: Nephropathy (Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to serious problems like kidney failure and heart disease).
- Nerves: Neuropathy (Nerve damage [especially in your feet], when combined with restricted blood flow, raises the risk of ulcers, infection, and amputation).
- Skin: People with diabetes are more likely to get bacterial (blisters, rashes, ulcers) or fungal infections (candida).
- Gums: Periodontitis (Lack of saliva and poor blood flow can cause gum problems).
- Pregnancy: Type 1 diabetes leads to complications in pregnancy like premature delivery, birth defects, stillbirth, and preeclampsia; putting your and your baby’s lives in danger.
Care & Management
Diabetes is not a death sentence.
Remember: Anyone can learn to manage this disease by following proper dietary precautions and with the help of insulin therapy and other treatments.
You can take these actions to prevent complications:
- Keep your blood sugar levels under control.
- Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Eat healthily and exercise regularly.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Have regular medical, dental, and eye exams.
- Take oral diabetes medications or insulin as directed.
- Check your ketone levels.
- Adjust your insulin dosage as needed to keep your blood sugar level in the target range. * Only under your doctor’s orders
- Be prepared to act quickly. If your blood sugar is high and you think that you have diabetic ketoacidosis, call 911.
Have concerns about diabetes? Call us on 1-347-384-5690 to get answers to your queries or pay us a visit at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11212. And if you have symptoms, come to us for diagnosis and treatment, we have the best endocrinologists and diabetes specialists to help you throughout the process.