What is type one diabetes and why does it occur?

2018-10-31 06:00

THERE are two main types of diabetes, known as type one and type two diabetes”. These two conditions are considered to be two different, separate conditions so it is important to understand their differences.

IMPORTANT STUFF TO KNOW

In our bodies, an organ known as the pancreas produces insulin. Insulin is vital because it enables the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. We need insulin to survive. In type one diabetes, the immune system attacks the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. This usually happens in younger people, but it can happen at any age. When this happens, the pancreas no longer produces insulin.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS NO INSULIN IN YOUR BODY?

The main effect is high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia). Insulin normally moves blood sugar into body tissues where it is used for energy. When there is no insulin, sugar builds up in the blood. High blood sugar is dangerous, with many side effects. It also causes damage to the body.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

The symptoms of type one diabetes are all based on the fact that there is high blood sugar. The symptoms include: extreme thirst, frequent urination, lethargy, fatigue and drowsiness, blurred vision, sudden weight loss and increased appetite, hunger. With treatment many of these symptoms are alleviated.

HOW IS TYPE 1 DIABETES TREATED?

Every person with type one diabetes needs to inject themselves with insulin to survive. There are quite a number of different types of insulin, and a number of different insulin treatment regimens (daily injection schedules). Treatment regimens should be tailored to the patient’s lifestyle to ensure best results.

WHY DOES TYPE 1 DIABETES OCCUR?

Before anyone can get type one diabetes, they need to have the genetic background, even though there may be no-one in the family with diabetes. In addition, something triggers the destruction of the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Trends show that type one diabetes is more often diagnosed/triggered during the winter months. As a result, most specialists agree that the most likely trigger of type one diabetes is a virus.

MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS

Type one diabetes only occurs in children — Not true! Type one diabetes usually occurs in children but can occur at any age.

Eating too much sugar causes type one diabetes — Also not true! Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition where certain cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the body.

If someone uses insulin, they definitely have Type 1 diabetes — Wrong! Insulin is also sometimes used in Type 2 diabetes, which is a different condition.

Type 1 diabetes can be cured — Very wrong! Unfortunately, at this point in time, type one diabetes is not curable. With good management and support from your healthcare team, it can be controlled and people with type one diabetes can live normal and healthy lives.

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