Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a lifelong condition and a group of disorders that causes an increase in an individual’s blood sugar (glucose) level. This condition occurs when pancreas are not able to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels in the body cells.
Diabetes is classified into two main types:
Type I: Condition in which pancreas doesn’t produce insulin
Type II: Body’s cells don’t respond to insulin
The other common type of diabetes among pregnant women is gestational diabetes and it tends to disappear following childbirth.
What causes Type I diabetes?
Type I diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease caused by the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The immune system, by mistake, kills the beta cells of the pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin helps the body’s cells to use glucose for energy, but due to insulin insufficiency, the glucose doesn’t move into the body cells. In type I diabetes, the cells are not able to process glucose, and as a result, the glucose level increases in the blood and causes high blood sugar. This type of diabetes is most common in small children and younger adults.
In normal conditions, when the body cells have enough glucose, it is stored in tissues of the liver and muscles as glycogen and is further broken down to obtain energy during exercise and sleep.
Hereditary factors (genes), environmental elements (proteins in gluten, gut microbiota, pathogens, and viruses), medications and drugs (destroy pancreatic cells), and pregnancy-related factors also play a major role in developing type I diabetes.
What are the symptoms of Type I Diabetes?
Excessive thirst: This is the most common symptom of type I diabetes, and drinking more water helps to remove excess sugar from blood with the help of kidneys. More water is removed by urination and often causes dehydration. Thus, dehydration in the body causes excessive thirst.
Sudden weight loss: Disrupted glucose levels in the body make a person feel tired and drowsy because excessive urination removes calories from urine and causes weight loss.
Skin problems: This disturbance in glucose metabolism causes changes in the skin, and people with type I diabetes are at more risk of developing bacterial and fungal infections. Common fungal infections include vaginal yeast infection, ringworm, and diaper rash.
Break down of fat cells: When the body doesn’t get enough glucose, then it breaks down the fat cells to obtain energy. This releases chemicals called ketones in the body, and the mixture of blood, acid ketones in the blood is called ketoacidosis.
Gum disease: It also causes too much plaque formation because of less salivary amylase production, and poor flow of blood causes mouth disease.
Other signs and symptoms of Type I diabetes:
• Blurry vision
• Fruity breath
• Dry mouth
• Rapid, deep breathing
• Slow healing of wounds
• Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
• Frequent or recurring infections
• Mood changes
• Bedwetting by a small child
• Heavy breathing
• Increased hunger
• Unexpected cramping
• Loss of muscular bulk
These symptoms usually develop early in young children (within a few hours or days), but in adults, the symptoms often take more time to develop (several weeks to months).
If an individual is encountering pain in the stomach, loss of appetite, nausea, and temperature changes, then they must seek immediate medical attention.
Diagnosis of Diabetes Type I:
• Blood test
• Hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c test (most preferred)
• Glucose tolerance test
• Antibody test
• Urine test
Treatment for Type I diabetes:
People suffering from type I diabetes must take insulin to keep their body sugar level normal, as directed by the doctor. Insulin is injected into the body using a needle or syringe, and the best place to inject them is the abdomen, thighs, and arms. Diabetes people can also get benefits from exercise, but before exercising, they must eat some snacks to prevent sudden drops in insulin.
Strenuous activities must be avoided if ketones are detected in the body. Food items that are low in carbohydrates, rich in fiber, calcium, antioxidants, potassium, and vitamins are an excellent choice for people with type I diabetes.
If anyone is suffering from the symptoms mentioned above, it is recommended to get diagnosed as soon as possible. The ailment can worsen over time if left untreated. It can also increase the risk of strokes, heart disease, blindness, and damage to the kidneys. One should also stop smoking, this will help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
If anyone experiences any of these symptoms they must undergo above-mentioned tests to diagnose diabetes at the initial phase to prevent the worsening of the condition.