The causes of type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is actually a disease of the autoimmune system. The condition causes your body to destroy certain cells (islet cells) in a part of the pancreas. When these islet cells are destroyed, there will be little to none insulin production.
The role of insulin and glucose
People with type 1 diabetes can’t make their own insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas, a gland near the stomach. The insulin gets in your bloodstream where it circulates and enables sugar to enter your cells. Your body gets the energy it needs from this sugar or glucose.
Without insulin to move the glucose to your cells, blood glucose levels become very high. The body cannot use the sugar so it passes through to the urine and is lost. This causes weakness, frequent urination, weight loss and excessive hunger and thirst.
There is no cure for diabetes yet, despite the active research. Treatment is aimed at keeping blood glucose levels as normal as possible and to manage the symptoms to prevent problems from getting worse. People with diabetes type 1 have a lack of insulin. In most cases, they have to take insulin injections. The injections can be given either with a syringe or an injection pen.
It’s not possible to take insulin tablets, because these would be broken down in your stomach and would therefore not be able to enter your bloodstream. Most people need two to four insulin injections a day. An alternative to injections is insulin pump therapy. The pump allows insulin to flow into the bloodstream at a controllable rate. This can be more comfortable, because you don’t have to give yourself injections but on the other hand, you will have to ensure you are receiving the right amount of insulin.
A part from treatment with insulin, it’s also very important to watch your lifestyle when you have diabetes. This includes weight control, eating healthy and balanced meals and doing exercise regularly.