Type I Diabetes

Type I Diabetes is very common among children and young adults, which is why it was previously called Juvenile Diabetes. However, Type I Diabetes can occur in people of all ages, although it is more likely in children, so it is no longer referred to as Juvenile Diabetes.

Type I Diabetes is characterized by an inability of the body to produce enough, or in some cases any, insulin. Insulin, which is a hormone and produced in the pancreas, is used in the body to convert food into energy. Specifically, insulin helps to break down glucose, which is a sugar, and turn the glucose into energy. When the body does not have enough insulin, this means that it is not able to control the level of sugar in ones blood, which can cause a number of complications and if untreated death.

Those who have Type I Diabetes will need to take at least one insulin shot every day, to ensure that there is enough insulin in the bloodstream to properly break down and use the glucose. Since the treatment of Type I Diabetes requires regular insulin shots, it is referred to as Insulin-Dependent Diabetes (IDDM.)

Insulin must be injected into the body, specifically a fatty area, in order for it to be effective. Ingesting insulin in pill form or otherwise internally will not work, because the acid in the stomach will break down the insulin.

Symptoms and Causes of Type I Diabetes

Often, the symptoms of Type I Diabetes manifest themselves very quickly. One of the most common symptoms is frequent urination and thirst that can not be easily quenched. Hunger, weight loss, fatigue, mood swings, and upset stomach are also often signals from the body that a diabetic problem exists.

The exact causes of Type I Diabetes are not known, although there have been some studies linking hereditary to the disease. It is also believed that some types of sicknesses or viruses might play a role in the development of diabetes, although it is very important to note that diabetes is not contagious and you will not catch it from having contact with a friend or relative with diabetes.

It is possible to lead a full, happy, and relatively healthy life with Type I Diabetes, however it will be important to always follow your doctors treatment plan. This typically involves carefully monitoring ones blood glucose level, then taking action when the glucose level becomes too high or too low.

Treatment of Type I Diabetes

Insulin shots will likely be one of the key components of treating Type I Diabetes. Children as young as ten years old are sufficiently capable of administering insulin shots and there are several devices, like diabetic pens, which can make getting or giving an insulin shot easier. There are also insulin pumps, which can be worn on the body and will automatically administer insulin on a set schedule or when needed.

Aside from insulin shots, maintaining a proper diabetic diet is also a key component of treating Type I Diabetes. It will be important to speak with a doctor and likely a dietitian to formulate a proper diet and understanding of what types of food to eat. Food will typically raise the blood sugar level, some more than others, and this can be dangerous for an individual with Type I Diabetes, although in some cases eating food can help avoid a diabetic attack.

In addition to a proper diet and regular insulin shots, exercise is also very important for a person with Type I Diabetes. This is because exercise, in a manner similar to insulin, can force your body to use glucose, successfully lowering the bodies blood sugar level. Of course, this also means that too much exercise can be dangerous, as it could lower the blood sugar level too much. As a result, it is usually required to check the blood sugar level, before and after exercise, to ensure that it is at a healthy level.

It is important to discuss what types of exercise to preform, how much exercise to preform, and what types of foods to eat when exercising with a doctor.

Detecting and Monitoring Type I Diabetes

In most cases, those with diabetes will preform a blood glucose test to determine their blood sugar level. The blood glucose test can be preformed by the diabetic individual in their home, with an easy to use Glucose Monitor. Most Glucose Monitors operate by pricking the individuals finger and then analyzing their blood.

Urine tests are also important indicators of an elevated level of ketones, which are a byproduct created when the body uses fat as an energy source. Too many ketones in the blood can cause ketoacidosis and is very serious. Urine tests can also be used to determine blood sugar level, but they are not as accurate as blood glucose tests and do not provide real time results, like blood glucose monitoring does.

Complications Caused by Type I Diabetes

There are a number of problems that can be caused by Type I Diabetes, but they typically fall into three categories: Hyperglycemia, Hypoglycemia, and Ketoacidosis.

Hyperglycemia is when there is an elevated blood sugar level and is often an indication that the diabetes is not being properly treated.

Hypoglycemia is when the blood glucose level is too low and is also called low blood sugar. It is important to speak with a doctor to determine how to treat hypoglycemia, but often eating a food with sugar or taking glucose pills will be used to treat hypoglycemia.

Ketoacidosis is very serious and is caused by an elevated level of ketones in the bloodstream. Ketones are created when the body turns to using fat as an energy source. Ketoacidosis is often referred to as diabetic coma and can be very dangerous to ones health.

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