Diabetes Type 1 (Support)
Diabetes is when your blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels are too high. In type 1 diabetes, there's no insulin to let glucose (or blood sugar) from the blood into the cells, where it can be used to make energy. So, glucose builds up in your bloodstream, where it can cause life-threatening complications. Type 1 diabetes is also known as diabetes mellitus type 1 or insulin-dependent diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes happens most often in children and young adults but can appear at any age. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. In most people with type 1 diabetes, the body's own immune system — which normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses — mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing (islet or beta) cells in the pancreas. Genetics may play a role in this process, and exposure to certain viruses may trigger the disease.
Symptoms associated with type 1 diabetes may include:
- Being very thirsty
- Urinating often
- Feeling very hungry or tired
- Losing weight without trying
- Having sores that heal slowly
- Having dry, itchy skin
- Losing the feeling in your feet or having tingling/burning in your feet
- Having blurry eyesight
There is currently no cure for type 1 diabetes. Insulin, blood glucose monitoring, healthy diet and regular moderate exercise are needed on an ongoing basis to keep blood glucose levels in check. Supplementation also offers support. However, exciting scientific developments are afoot. Clinical trials are underway for an artificial electronic ‘pancreas’ that monitors blood glucose and administers insulin accordingly. Transplanting someone else’s pancreas or pancreatic beta cells, or even stem cells made from your own blood, are all treatments that show promise for restoring pancreatic function in type 1 diabetics.
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