Type 1 Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, Complications, Treatment and Prevention

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin is mainly due to genetic issue.

May 30, 2018

Type 1 diabetes  is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin is mainly due to genetic issue. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. It happens when your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the beta cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. The damage is permanent. Type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood or adolescence, built can develop in adults also. Normally, blood glucose levels are tightly controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas.  Insulin lowers the blood glucose level. When the blood glucose elevates (for example, after eating food), insulin is  released from the pancreas to normalize the glucose level by promoting the uptake of glucose into body cells. In patients with  diabetes, the absence of insufficient production of or lack of response to insulin causes hyperglycemia. Diabetes is a chronic medical condition, which can be controlled, but it lasts a lifetime.  Elevated levels of blood glucose (hyperglycemia) lead to spillage of glucose into the urine.

Causes of Type 1 Diabetes

Some of the risk factors for getting diabetes include being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle,  a family history of diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and low levels of the "good" cholesterol (HDL) and  elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

  • Dehydration: When there is extra sugar in your blood, you urinate more. So a large amount of water goes out with that urine, causing your body to dry out.
  • Weight loss: The glucose that goes out when you urinate takes calories with it. That's why many people with high blood sugar lose weight. Dehydration also plays a part.

Complications of Type 1 Diabetes

If you don't keep your type 1 diabetes well controlled, you could set yourself up for serious or life-threatening problems.

  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA):If your body can't get enough glucose for fuel, it breaks down fat cells instead. This creates chemicals called ketones. Your liver releases the sugar it stores to help out. But your body can't use it without insulin, so it builds up in your blood, along with the acidic ketones. This combination of extra glucose, dehydration, and acid buildup is known a "ketoacidosis" and can be life-threatening if not treated right away.  Damage to your body. Over time, high glucose levels in your blood can harm the nerves and small blood vessels in your eyes.
  • Kidneys and Heart:They can also make you more likely to get hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
  • Chronic kidney disease(CKD and Renal failure):Damage to the kidneys, known as diabetic nephropathy, can lead to tissue  scarring, urine protein loss, and eventually chronic kidney disease and failure, sometimes requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation.
  • Diabetes Retinopathy:Being diabetic, especially when on insulin, there is a high risk of diabetes retinopathy leading to vision loss and blindness.
  • Poor Blood Circulation and Nerve Damage:Damaged nerves and hardened arteries lead to a loss of sensation in and a lack of blood supply to your feet. This raises your chances of injury and makes it harder for open sores and wounds to heal.And when that happens, you could lose a limb. Nerve damage can also cause digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Treatment and Prevention of Type 1 Diabetes

There is no cure for type 1 diabetes. It requires lifelong disease management. But with consistent monitoring and adherence to treatment, you may be able to avoid some of the more serious complications of the disease. Many people with type 1 diabetes live long, healthy lives. The key to good health is to keep your blood sugar levels within the range your doctor gives you. You will need to check them often and adjust insulin, food, and activities to make that happen. All people with type 1 diabetes must use insulin injections to control their blood sugar.When your doctor talks about insulin, he will mention three main things:
   1. "Onset" is the length of time before it reaches your bloodstream and begins lowering blood sugar.
   2. "Peak time" is the time when insulin is doing the most work in terms of lowering blood sugar.
   3."Duration" is how long it keeps working after onset.
Insulin injections and insulin pumps are the two methods of insulin administration. Insulin injections are given multiple times daily, while insulin pumps deliver a steady dose of insulin throughout the day. Insulin cannot be taken as an oral pill or tablet because the stomach destroys it before it can reach the bloodstream. Individuals with Type 1 diabetes must check their blood sugar levels multiple times a day to ensure that levels stay within a healthy range.

Types of Insulin


  • Rapid-acting starts to work in about 15 minutes. It peaks around 1 hour after you take it and continues to work for 2 to 4 hours.
  • Regular or short-acting gets to work in about 30 minutes. It peaks between 2 and 3 hours and keeps working for 3 to 6 hours.
  • Intermediate-acting won't get into your bloodstream for 2 to 4 hours after injection. It peaks from 4 to 12 hours and works for 12 to 18 hours.
  • Long-acting takes several hours to get into your system and lasts for about 24 hours.

Your doctor may start you out with two injections a day of two different types of insulin. You may progress to three or fourshots a day.Most insulin comes in a small glass bottle called a vial. You draw it out with a syringe that has a needle on the end, and give yourself the shot. Some now comes in a prefilled pen. One kind is inhaled. You can also get it from a pump , a device you wear that sends it into your body via a small tube. Your doctor will help you to pick the type and the delivery method that's best for you.