Basic Facts About Type One Diabetes
Diabetes is scientifically known as diabetes mellitus (DM). There are several information about diabetes that people get confused about, which are facts and which are myths? Here are some basic facts you should know about diabetes mellitus:
The cause of diabetes mellitus
In a nutshell, diabetes is caused by the insufficiency of insulin in the body. Pancreatectomy (surgical removal of the pancreas) and other endocrine dysfunction can cause insufficiency of insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreatic glands, which is responsible in lowering glucose levels in the blood stream.
Clinical symptoms Diabetes Mellitus
The three P’s, polyphagia, polydypsia and polyuria, generally characterize diabetes mellitus. Polyphagia – is excessive appetite, polydypsia – excessive thirst and polyuria is excessive urination. There is also hyerpglycemia or increased glucose concentration in the bloodstream. Glycosuria is also present which is characterized by the presence of sugar or glucose in the urine.
Types of Diabetes Mellitus
There are two types of DM, the type 1 and type II. Type II is the non-insulin dependent DM or NIDDM while Type I is the insulin dependent DM or IDDM.
Characteristics of Type I DM
• IDDM or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus – Therapy is through the administration of insulin to the patient.
• Thin patients – Patients with this type of DM are usually thin as compared to type II.
• Early onset of disease – The disease occurs at an earlier age, usually before 40 years of age than the type II DM that is why it is also called juvenile diabetes.
• Ketosis is prominent. Ketosis is the increased concentration of ketone bodies like acetone, hydroxybutyric acid, and acetoacetic acid in the bloodstream because lipids are metabolized for energy more than carbohydrates. The increased metabolism of lipids will also increase ketone bodies because ketone bodies are the products of ketone metabolism. Normally carbohydrates in the form of glucose are metabolized for energy, but since insulin is insufficient and glucose cannot be metabolized properly, the lipids or fats are then utilized for energy.
• Hyperglycemia – The concentration of glucose in the bloodstream is elevated even in fasting samples collected in fasting blood sugar tests. Two-hour postprandial tests or 2 HPPT will always yield an elevated value.
• Glycosuria – Just like type 2 DM, the sugar in urine will give positive results.
Management of type I DM
• Regular laboratory tests for fasting blood sugar (FBS) to determine if the glucose concentration in the blood is within normal limits. Normal levels range from 50 -120 mg % depending on the method employed. Nowadays, there are test kits for rapid glucose tests that you can do yourself at home.
• The therapeutic insulin injections should be followed properly. Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) can be performed to test if the patient has been taking his meds.
• Daily exercise should be coupled with proper diet. You should avoid too much carbohydrates, sweets, cakes, ice creams and other dairy products. Carbohydrates like rice, pasta, and potatoes are metabolized to glucose so you should avoid them.
• You should have a regular general check up focusing on complications like cardiovascular diseases and kidney dysfunctions so the doctor can manage them earlier if these complications occur. All organs in the body are affected if you have diabetes mellitus, so you should be aware of these and visit your doctor regularly. You can even turn blind if the complications are overlooked.
Type 1 DM is a pathologic condition that includes several primary and secondary complications. If you are a diabetic, being aware of the characteristics and symptoms of the disease will help you deal successfully with the condition.