Type 1 Diabetes
By Taryn Hubley
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes is when the pancreas doesn't produce the right amount of insulin your body needs to function.
What is type 1 diabetes?
What does it affect?
Type 1 Diabetes affects the digestive system and also the nervous system. The digestive system includes the esophagus, the stomach, the large & small intestines, the liver, the anus, and most important in this case, the pancreas. The pancreas is the most important in this disease because it is so unpredictable. You never know how much insulin is going to be produced, and if you don't get the treatment you need, you will be in danger. The nervous system is affected because there is too much sugar in your blood stream which can damage the small blood vessels and make you feel very tired, weak and numb. You need insulin in your body to live, and Diabetes is preventing that cycle from happening.
How does the body system work normally?
The pancreas normally produces chemicals to help break down our food. It produces insulin which helps glucose (more commonly known as sugar) enter the blood cells, and give us energy.
How does the body system work with diabetes?
With Diabetes, the pancreas doesn't produce the amount of insulin you need to live healthily with. Your blood sugar rises and the body's cells do not respond to the insulin normally.
Who is affected by this disease?
Both male and females are affected by this disease, although it is most common in younger children and adolescents. American Indians/Alaskan Natives was the race that had the most people diagnosed in 2014. Also, in 2012 29.1 million Americans were diagnosed with some type of Diabetes and there were 1.7 million new diagnoses a year. In 2012 there were 1.9 million. the graph below has the percentages of different ethnicities and how many people were diagnosed with Diabetes in the year of 2012. As of today, more than 3 million american's have type one and more than 15,000 children are diagnosed with it each year.
How does this condition arise?
The exact cause of Diabetes is unknown, although research shows that in some cases, it can be caused by genetic issues. If someone in your family has it, it is most likely to come up again in someone else. Research also says that it may be an environmental issue. The environment can stimulate the immune system and attack the pancreas.
How is this condition diagnosed?
There are four main ways that doctors use to diagnose patients with type 1 diabetes. The first is called A1C, it is a test that measures your blood sugar for 2-3 months. If you don't have Diabetes, it should be 5.7% or less. If you have Diabetes, it should be 6.4% or higher. The second way is called Fast Plasma Glucose (FPG). It is a test that checks your fasting blood sugar level. If you don't have Diabetes, it should be 100mg or less. If you have Diabetes, it should be 126mg or higher. The third way is called the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). It is a test that checks blood sugar levels before and two hours after you eat. The last way is called Random (also called casual) Plasma Glucose Test. It is a test that you take when you have severe Diabetes symptoms and can take at any time of the day. You would be diagnosed with 200mg or higher.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Some symptoms of having type 1 Diabetes is urinating often, feeling very thirsty, feeling hungry even though you are eating, feeling fatigue, having blurry vision, having cuts that are hard to heal, weight loss even though you are eating more, nausea, and vomiting.
Is there a treatment?
There is not a complete cure for diabetes, but there is treatment that you must do on an every day basis to live a healthy life. There is a device called an insulin pump that is very helpful to those who have Diabetes. It is a pump that calculates how much insulin is needed and gives it directly to the body. Those who use the pump, also have to prick their fingers 4 times a day for a blood test. The pump carries a three day supply of insulin and it is about the size of a deck of cards. You can put it in a case, attach it to a waist band, belt, shirt, etc. The pumps keep your insulin leveled when you have meals, to make sure you don't go over your limit, but also so you don' t go under it. It keeps you in your target range. If your glucose levels are too high, you take something called bolus to bring it back down into your range. It is injected by a catheter, which is placed under the skin. If you choose not to have the insulin pump, you would still have to do the finger pricks, except more frequently. You would still have to eat healthy diet, be aware of how much sugar is in the food that you eat, and exercise often to stay in shape.
What is the life expectancy?
The life span with someone who has type 1 Diabetes is as normal as anyone else, if they use the treatment properly. If they don't treat it properly, they will be in danger. Having diabetes may be very hard and stressful to live with, but it's not impossible.
Who else has Diabetes?
Famous people have diabetes too, and it is just as hard for them as anyone else. Nick Jonas, from what used to be the Jonas Brothers, has type 1 Diabetes. Also, my two best friend's little sisters have type 1. Whenever I was at there house, I would see the insulin pump around there waist, and every few hours they would have to prick there fingers for a blood test. They were constantly checking sugars in foods and calculating the total amount. I wanted to know more about it, and see what kind of things they are going through. As I learn more and more about this disease, it saddens me even more to see that 7 year old's have to live a life like this. I hope that soon Diabetes will have a cure, but for now they have to keep their heads held high and have hope for a world without Diabetes