Type 1 Diabetes: Your Ultimate Guide

type 1 diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that affects the normal functioning of your blood sugar and insulin levels.

Insulin and Glugons are produced by Pancreases which are present in the abdomen.

Other than producing these two hormones, it also takes part in the digestion of food by producing bile.

Beta cells found in the pancreases are responsible for secreting and synthesizing insulin and amylin.

Moreover, these cells make almost 5- to 70% of the cells in your body’s islets.

To regulate glucose, lipids, and protein, these 2 hormones are very important.

The function of insulin affects carbohydrates metabolism, fat metabolism, protein metabolism, and growth.

Moreover, it tells your body to take in glucose from the bloodstream due to which the level of glucose goes down

Many people in the United States and all around the world suffer from this condition and can play a role in creating life-threating conditions.

This article sums up why your immune systems attack its own self, a disorder that is caused due to disturbance in the functioning of glucose, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of Type 1 Diabetes.

Auto-Immune Diseases

The immune system in your body usually works to destroy the invading bacteria.

Due to all these infections has now mistakenly started to destroy the insulin cells produced by the pancreas.

autoimmune diseasesThere are 2 different types of cells in your body:

  1. One that carries oxygen i.e. red blood cells
  2. And those that are responsible for protecting your body against microorganisms i.e. white blood cells

The immune system consists of White Blood cells that are responsible for protecting your body against pathogens, like bacteria, viruses, and other foreign bodies.

However, in an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks its own cells that normally guard against pathogens.

When the immune system senses the presence of a foreign body, it releases a protein, Antibodies to fight the foreign bodies.

Moreover, as a response to this attack, the immune system starts attacking its own organs, like in type 1 diabetes it affects the pancreas.

Attack on the Body by Immune System

Doctors have not yet been able to identify why the immune system attacks the body however, some people are more likely to get an autoimmune disease than others.

According to a study in 2014,  women get the autoimmune disease at a rate of 2 to 1 compared to men.

However, some autoimmune diseases are in certain ethnicities for instance lupus affects more African Americans and Hispanics than Caucasians.

Autoimmune diseases, like lupus and multiple sclerosis, are genetic.

Some of the common autoimmune diseases are type 1 diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, Addison’s disease, etc.

Glucose Disorder

When there is a disturbance in the functioning of your blood glucose, it can cause problems in your blood sugar levels.

Diabetes is a group of diseases, in which there is a disturbance in the levels of glucagon and insulin.

Two types of diabetes are:

  1. Type 1 Diabetes
  2. Type2 Diabetes

type 1 diabetesType 1 diabetes: It is insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and is due to a lack of insulin secretion.

Type 2 diabetes: it is non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and is due to a decrease in sensitivity of target tissues to the metabolic effect of insulin.

This insulin sensitivity is often known as insulin resistance.

In both these types, the blood glucose increases, cell utilization of glucose decreases, and the use of proteins and fats increases.

Thus, developing type 1 diabetes can be life threatening.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the cells in the bloodstream that make insulin are destroyed.

Therefore the body is unable to make its own insulin.

When your body runs on low energy the muscles and tissues release extra glucose into the bloodstream.

Too much glucose circulating in the bloodstream system can cause both long-term and short-term problems.

Signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes are as follows:

  • Blur in the vision.
  • fatigue.
  • nerve damage.
  • development of ketoacidosis in some cases.

Diabetes Ketoacidosis: is a serious complication of diabetes, occurs when the body produces high levels of blood acids, Ketones.

signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetesThe symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis are rapid breathing, dry mouth, dry skin, flushed face, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes

Common blood sugar levels are:

Before taking a meal: 70 to 130mg/100ml

After the meal: less than 180mg/100ml

Before exercise (if taking insulin): 100mg/100ml

Bedtime: 100 to 140mg/100ml

Fasting: less than 100mg/100ml

However, keeping in view the signs and symptoms, your doctor or healthcare provider will conduct the following:

Random Blood Sugar Test

During this test, your doctor or health care provider will test for blood sugar levels in your blood.

This is usually taken at any random time of the day.

If you have a blood sugar level higher than normal readings, then you are prone to this condition.

Fasting Blood Sugar Test

Overnight fasting blood sample test and indicates the following:

If the blood sugar level is less than 100mg/dL, it is normal

If the sugar level is ranging from 100 to 125mg/dL then it is prediabetes

In case the sugar level is higher than 126mg/dL you are diabetic.

Moreover, your doctor will run other tests for type 1 or type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

They also indicate the presence of type 1 antibodies in the body.

Glycated Haemoglobin (A1C) Test

A1C test indicates the blood sugar levels during the past 2 to 3 months.

The high concentration of blood sugar levels attracts more hemoglobin. An A1C level of 6.5 or higher indicates diabetes on 2 separate tests.

diagnosisThe higher your A1C level is the poorer your blood sugar control will be.

Therefore, the higher your risk of diabetes complications.

You can learn about the laboratory tests here.

Treatment Options

The treatment of type 1 diabetes involves taking Insulin, counting calories like fats, proteins, and carbs, monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly.

Moreover, including a healthy and balanced diet in your routine, exercising daily, and maintaining a healthy weight.

The goal of this treatment is to keep a regular check of the blood sugar levels and managing them properly.

If you have type 1 diabetes, then you need lifelong insulin therapy, moreover, your doctor and healthcare provider can recommend:

  • regular short-acting insulin
  • rapid-acting insulin
  • insulin acting intermediately (NPH)
  • long-lasting insulin

treatment of type 1 diabetesFor instance, short-acting insulin is Humulin R, rapid-acting insulin is insulin glulisine or Apidra, long-lasting one is Insulin Glargine or Lantus and that of immediate acting is Novolin n.

Since you are unable to take insulin orally, therefore you either have to inject it or use an insulin pump.

People with Type 1 Diabetes

If you have diabetes, then taking the following steps can help improve the risk of developing complications.

These can be nerve damage, damage to the blood vessels, and hypoglycemia.

Diabetes care involves:

Learning about diabetes from either your doctor or health care provider.

Managing the signs and symptoms

physical activityAvoid smoking as it increases the risk of developing blood pressure.

Checking blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels regularly.

Taking care of your dental and oral health.

Paying attention to your feet, as changes in the blood flow tend to damage nerves.

Complication and Health Risks

If with of your parents or both have them has type 1 diabetes, then you are at risk of developing it as well.

The presence of some genes in your body indicates an increase in the risk of developing this condition.

Type 1 diabetes can show signs and symptoms at any age. However, it is most common in:

Children between the ages 4 and7

Children between the ages 10 and 14

Moreover, there is an increased risk of developing conditions like hypoglycemia, damage to the blood vessels, and damage to the optic nerve.

Damage to the Blood Vessels

Blood vessels are an important part of your circulatory system because they carry oxygen, glucose, and insulin to every part of your body.

blood vessel damageAn increase in blood sugar decreases the elasticity of the blood vessels in your body.

This can cause to narrow down and impeding blood flow according to American Diabetes Association.

Moreover, it can lead to a reduction in the supply of blood and oxygen.

Therefore, increasing the risk of high blood pressure and damaging large and small blood vessels.


It is due to a drop below the normal range of blood sugar levels. Symptoms include sweating, shakiness, hunger, and dizziness.

Moreover, rapid or irregular heartbeat, fatigue, headaches, irritability, and hyperglycemia are the signs and symptoms.

hypogylcemia or hyperglycemiaNormal blood pressure may also rise due to eating excessively or eating unhealthy foods.

Symptoms of hyperglycemia are frequent urination, an increase in thirst, fatigue, hunger, and focus issues.

Damage to the Optic Nerves

In some cases, people with diabetes can face optic nerve damage and it can lead to vision loss and blindness.

Moreover, it affects blood vessels in the retina i.e. the light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of your eye.

damage to optic nerveIf you have diabetes, it’s important to get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.

Diabetic retinopathy may not have any symptoms at first — but finding it early can help you take steps to protect your vision.

But diabetes can also make you more likely to develop several other eye conditions:

  • Cataracts. Having diabetes makes you 2 to 5 times more likely to develop cataracts. It also makes you more likely to get them at a younger age.
  • Open-angle glaucoma. Having diabetes nearly doubles the risk of developing a type of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma.

Final Thoughts

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease due to changes in the blood sugar levels in your bloodstream. It is due to genetic factors and sometimes environmental factors as well.

Newly diagnosed diabetes can be easily treated, however, the case of high blood sugar levels or increasing glucose levels can cause a problem or lead to complications.

In some cases, the presence of genes can also contribute to the development of this condition.

In case, your parents are diabetic, you should make sure to makes certain efforts to prevent it, like weight loss. Certain lifestyle changes, a healthy diet, and regular moderate exercise can help its prevention.

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