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Understanding Diabetes Type 1
According to the American Diabetes Association, type 1 diabetes affects over a million children and adults in the U.S.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when pancreas stops producing the hormone insulin. Insulin helps:
- the body absorb and transport glucose which is a sugar that is an important source of energy
- build protein for strong muscles
- store fat as a future energy source
- use nutrients from food for other bodily functions
It is believed that diabetes is an autoimmune disease, where the body attacks itself for no apparent reason. No one knows why this happens and there is no cure although a person’s background and or diet may be one of the reasons they get diabetes.
The differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes
There is type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is less serious than type 1. This is when the body still produces insulin but does not use it like a healthy person. This is called insulin resistance. Fortunately type 2 diabetes may be managed through diet and exercise.
When you have diabetes type 1, it attacks beta cells which are cells responsible for making insulin in the pancreas. When these cells stop making insulin, too much glucose or sugar can enter the blood and cause health problems. If you get diabetes type 1 you will have to take insulin medicine for the rest of your life.
Symptoms to look for
Recognizing symptoms of diabetes type 1 could help you address it early, which may save your life. High blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia, are major signs of type 1.
Some symptoms to look for include:
- rapid weight loss
- unable to gain weight
- constant thirst
- blurred vision
- frequent urination
- continuous exhaustion
In addition to the symptoms above there may be other signs of diabetes type 1. These symptoms often happen when the body releases the chemicals called ketones (key-tones). Ketones are responsible for using fat for energy in place of insulin. Known as DKA, this can be found when your doctor tests your urine.
Symptoms of DKA include:
- unexplained bedwetting
- pre-pubescent vaginal yeast infections also known as Candida
- unexplained stomach pain, nausea and/or vomiting
- fruity smelling breath
- breathing difficulty
- loss of consciousness (in extreme cases)
Risks of untreated symptoms of diabetes type 1
Diabetes is a serious disease that could cause various health problems if left untreated or not managed regularly. Some of these health problems caused by diabetes include:
- kidney damage
- vision loss
- blood problems that may lead to limb amputation
- heart disease
- hypertension, known as high blood pressure
- dyslipidemia, known as high cholesterol
Talk to your doctor
Symptoms of diabetes type 1 can sometimes be undiagnosed, misdiagnosed and misunderstood. It is important to talk to your doctor if you experience any chronic (continued) symptoms. A blood and urine test will show specific signs of whether you have diabetes type 1 or type 2.
Talk to Ninth Street Internal Medicine today. Call (215)440-8681 for an appointment.