What is Diabetes Type 1
If you are looking for information on children and
diabetes, the chances are you need to know about diabetes type 1. This is the less common type of diabetes
and is usually diagnosed in childhood or early adult life.
Type 1 diabetes is a disorder of the body’s immune system
that prevents it from producing insulin. The beta cells in the pancreas, that are responsible for insulin
production, are attacked and killed by the body’s immune system.
There is no clear understanding of what causes this attack
on the beta cells, but medical experts believe it is triggered by the body’s reaction to a viral or other
infection. This seems to happen most frequently in children, and diabetes is the
What is the difference between Juvenile Diabetes and
Diabetes Type 1 ?
There is no difference between them. Type 1 sugar diabetes used to be known as
diabetes because it is usually diagnosed in children, teenagers or young adults.
This is a fairly misleading term however, as juvenile diabetes symptoms can be experienced at any age,
although they are usually diagnosed before the age of 40.
Because people with diabetes type 1 need to take insulin in order to stay alive, this
disease is also often referred to as insulin
dependent diabetes. Other names for type 1 diabetes include pediatric diabetes and
What is the Treatment for Diabetes Type 1
Type 1 diabetes sufferers need regular insulin doses each day. They can’t take insulin orally
as it will be broken down by the digestive juices in the stomach, making it ineffective. Reducing juvenile
diabetes symptoms may take up to four insulin injections each day, or the same amount of insulin delivered to
the body via a pump.
People with diabetes type 1 also need to regulate their blood sugar, which means
regulating diet and exercise and taking a blood test by pricking their fingers several times a day to
determine whether their blood sugar is too high or too low.
It can be very difficult for parents to regulate the blood sugar of their children, and
diabetes is an issue that many schools know little about, so some education and training is needed to ensure
that young people with type 1 diabetes get the support they need.
What happens in type 1 diabetes when blood sugar is too
If a type 1 diabetic’s blood sugar level is too high they may have a hyperglycaemic reaction. When this is
caused by eating too many calories, blood sugar may increase steadily over time, and the symptoms may not be
obvious, so regular monitoring is essential. If a hyperglycaemic reaction is caused by missing an insulin
dose, it will happen much more quickly and the symptoms will be obvious.
Symptoms of a hyperglycaemic reaction include thirst and increased urination, progressing
to blurred vision and dizziness and potentially ending in losing consciousness.
Long term high blood sugar levels can lead to damage to the eyes, heart, kidneys, blood
vessels and nerves. If the blood sugar is very high, over 250mg/dl and the patient becomes dehydrated, they
risk life threatening conditions such as hyperosmoler state and diabetic ketoacidosis.
What happens in type 1 diabetes when blood sugar is too low
If a diabetic’s blood sugar becomes too low, they can experience a hypoglycaemic
reaction. This happens when there is too much insulin and not enough glucose in the blood, which can be
triggered by eating a meal with lots of simple sugars, by taking certain medications, or by intense
Early symptoms of a hypoglycaemic reaction include confusion, dizziness, trembling,
headaches and irritability. As the reaction becomes more intense, other symptoms such as poor co-ordination
and numbness in the mouth may be experienced. At this stage the reaction can be treated by eating sources of
glucose, such as glucose tablets, sugar or fruit juice, at regular intervals.
When a hypoglycaemic reaction reaches the point where the patient passes out, they will
need a glucagons
injection. An ambulance should always be called for a severe attack as the patient
might slip into a coma.
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