Diabetes is a chronic disease in which your blood sugar levels are higher than the healthy limit of 200 mg/dL. This happens when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or your immune system attacks the insulin-making cells in your pancreas.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for diabetes but it can be managed through medication and lifestyle changes such as changes in diet and exercise.
Type 1 Diabetes is uncommon and affected about 9 million people worldwide in 2017 as per the World Health Organization.
Type 1 Diabetes is where your immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells (the ones that produce insulin). The lack of insulin in the blood increases the glucose levels in the body.
Without an appropriate level of insulin, the glucose won’t break down and ingress into the body cells. When the body cells do not receive the broken-down glucose, they can’t produce energy, therefore making the body starve and weak.
Type 1 Diabetes usually affects children and young adults. Some researchers suggest that it could be a genetic condition or may get triggered due to exposure to a virus or environmental toxins or some dietary factors. However, there are no clear answers about how one gets Type 1 Diabetes.
If your Type 1 diabetes has been triggered, the following symptoms may start showing over a few days to a few weeks.
- Feeling hungry even after meals
- Frequently urinating
- Loss of vision or blurred vision
- Weight loss, despite maintaining a good diet schedule
- Fatigue and lightheaded
- Slow healing of wounds
- Labored breathing
- Dry mouth and skin
- Prone to UTIs, skin and vaginal infections
If you suspect these symptoms, you should seek professional medical help, without any delay. Type 1 Diabetes tends to get worse and can be life-threatening.
What Causes Type 1 Diabetes?
As mentioned before, there are no defined reasons or triggers about what causes Type 1 Diabetes. Medical researchers and scientists have only made assumptions based on the limited data available.
A few theories about what causes Type 1 Diabetes include:
Someone in your family may have been carrying the type 1 diabetes genes or someone from your family already has Type 1 diabetes.
- Exposure to polluted environment or toxins
- Dietary habits
Effects of Type 1 Diabetes on the body
When Type 1 Diabetes is left untreated for an extended period, it can develop complications such as –
- Heart diseases, heart attack
- Kidney damage or failure (Diabetic Nephropathy)
- Nerve damage (Diabetic Neuropathy)
- Loss of vision (Diabetic Retinopathy)
- Prone to cataracts
- High risk of catching infections
- High Blood Pressure
- Pancreatic damage
It’s advisable to get diagnosed as soon as possible if you suspect you might be suffering from diabetes.
The healthcare providers will diagnose whether you have diabetes or not through a few tests such as:
Blood Glucose Test
The most common test undertaken to determine if you are diabetic or not is to check your blood sugar levels. There are a few ways to check the blood glucose levels such as:
Fasting Blood Glucose Levels
You’ll be asked to fast for 12 hours before drawing your blood. The empty stomach blood glucose levels should be up to 100 mg/dL. Anything above 126 mg/dL would suggest that you have diabetes.
Post-Prandial (post-eating) Blood Glucose Levels
This test is done two hours after you start eating a meal. This test is done to know how your body reacts to starch and sugar post eating a meal. The normal blood glucose range is below 140 mg/dL. If your post-prandial levels are above 200mg/dL, then you will be considered diabetic.
Random Blood Glucose Test
As the title suggests, these tests are done randomly, at any point of the day, post-eating anything. These tests are repeated a few times. If the pattern of high blood sugar levels is maintained, then you’d have developed diabetes. In these tests, anything below 200 mg/dL is considered normal. But if it goes beyond that 200 thresholds, you will be diagnosed with diabetes.
Urine Test for Blood Glucose levels
The urine test to check for blood glucose levels is not always accurate or real-time information about the body. However, the urine test for blood sugar does reveal if your sugar levels are being managed well. It’s also undertaken regularly to keep a check on your Kidney Function, Cholesterol levels, Liver function, and thyroid function.
Glycated Hemoglobin (A1C) test
This test reveals the average blood sugar levels over the past three months. This test measures the amount of glucose that is bound to the protein Hemoglobin in our red blood cells. This test is regularly undertaken by people who have already been diagnosed with diabetes.
Treatment & Management
As mentioned before, there is no cure for diabetes, but there are various ways to treat and manage your blood sugar levels.
Managing your insulin intake is one of the most effective ways to control your blood glucose levels. The amount of insulin to be injected into your body and the interval between each intake depends on your glucose levels.
There are even different types of insulins based on the duration they last such as Rapid-acting, Regular or short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting. How you wish to administer insulin into your body is your choice. Some are injected through syringes, sometimes it comes in pre-filled pens, sometimes it can even be inhaled.
However, your dosage, type of insulin, and the intervals of intake will all be decided by a medical professional.
To combat diabetes and live a normal and healthy life, one needs to make changes in their lifestyle. Exercise helps maintain glucose levels in the bloodstream. However, it doesn’t have to hardcore exercise routine, even the simple task of climbing a floor would be considered exercise.
The important part to remember, Is to prevent or manage diabetes, keep yourself moving. Avoid sedentary activities. But if you suffer from hyperglycemia, you should be mindful of your exertion.
Diet plays a crucial role in controlling your glucose levels. It would be preferable to follow a balanced and healthy diet. Avoid unwanted sugar and sugary products. You could consult a dietitian and create a meal chart plan that keeps your glucose level in check and makes sure your body gets enough nutrition and minerals at the same time.