There is always talk of diabetes in general or the increase in type 2 diabetes among the world population. But what about type 1 diabetes? If you want to know what this condition is all about and why it is different from type 2 diabetes, stay tuned! Here we give you useful information about it.

Although less common, type 1 diabetes also affects many people around the world. It was previously known as “juvenile” diabetes or “insulin-dependent” diabetes, because it is generally diagnosed in children and young people and, as its name indicates, its treatment requires insulin. However, recently, the medical community prefers to refer to it as type 1 diabetes since it can happen at any age. Click here to find out about the symptoms.

We hear more often about type 2 diabetes since it is more common. According to the American Diabetes Association, only 10% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get the same attention as type 2 diabetes, right? Many people in the world suffer from it and it is important that they do not feel alone.

Can type 1 diabetes be prevented?

Not really. And it is simply because its causes are still not clear. It is thought that the body’s immune system (which is responsible for protecting us from infections caused by bacteria and viruses) mistakenly attacks the insulin-producing cells located in the pancreas (the beta cells). That is, it is an auto-immune disease. It is not clear why the body reacts in this way, but it is possible that it is due to genetic factors or perhaps that exposure to a certain type of virus triggers the disease. Investigations in this regard continue. It is also believed that having a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes may slightly increase the predisposition to develop it.

What happens in your body when you have type 1 diabetes?

It’s simple: the pancreas does not produce insulin or produces very little. Insulin transports glucose, or sugar, to the tissues and cells of the body. Unlike type 2 diabetes, in which the amount of insulin may be adequate but it does not work well because there is resistance to it by the cells and less frequently, there is insulin deficiency. In type 1 diabetes, not enough insulin is produced from the beginning and there may be some antibodies (Islet antibodies) in the blood, which are proteins that your body forms if there is the immunological component that I told you about, which indicates that it is attacking or fighting against the cells that produce insulin (beta cells in the Islets of Langerhans).

What happens when there is no insulin to transport the glucose to the cells ?

Well, the sugar stays in the blood and the cells run out of nutrients to be able to have energy and perform vital functions. You imagine? It’s like the body ran out of gasoline to function. Also, that “gasoline” that is not used stays in the blood and accumulates, which is not good. Elevated blood sugar levels can cause the following:

  • Dehydration : The body, in its effort to eliminate excess sugar in the blood, tries to eliminate sugar through urine. But when too much urine is produced, in addition to sugar, too much water is removed, which causes dehydration. Therefore, if you are very thirsty and want to urinate, you should pay attention.
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis : the body, in its eagerness to have energy, unable to obtain it from glucose, begins to try to obtain it from fat. In this metabolic process, acids are produced that accumulate in the blood and eventually, together with the accumulated sugar, cause other damage to the body. In severe cases, ketoacidosis is an emergency that requires hospitalization. If there is nausea and/or vomiting, tiredness, dizziness, weakness, rapid breathing and the smell of acetone on the breath, call the paramedics or if it is a family member, take it to the emergency room.
  • Weight loss: If sugar cannot be absorbed in the blood, it is not being used, all those nutrients are being eliminated through the urine and there is a decrease in weight.
  • Damage to different organs of the body: Elevated blood glucose levels gradually damage the body’s nerves ( neuropathy ), the kidneys ( nephropathy ), and the eyes ( retinopathy ) to name a few. Complications of the heart and other blood vessels in the body that cause heart attacks, strokes, peripheral arterial disease, arteriosclerosis , are also a consequence of uncontrolled type 1 diabetes. Complications to the vessels of the feet and legs is what causes amputations.

How is type 1 diabetes treated?

The main treatment for type 1 diabetes is insulin . Injections or the bombilla are the way to apply it at this time. You should consult with your doctor to determine which is the best option for you, since there are several types of insulin.

As in the case of type 2 diabetes, people with type 1 diabetes must eat a healthy diet, following certain schedules and in certain amounts depending on their weight and the activity they perform, they must exercise daily and regularly control blood levels. blood glucose. Visits with your doctor and your health team will be according to your condition.

According to statistics, type 1 diabetes is more common in black and white people, but Hispanics are also at risk of developing it.

The good news is that acting early and keeping your diabetes under control is what determines whether you can live a long and happy life, even with type 1 diabetes.


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