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Type 1 Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

 Appropriate Blood Sugar Levels for Type 1 Diabetes and How to Check Them

Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes, is an unpreventable illness that accounts for only about 10 percent of diabetes cases in the United States. Individuals are frequently healthy and an appropriate weight when diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and it lasts for the rest of the person's life. Therefore, consistently monitoring blood sugar levels and knowing how to check them is an important life skill for every person with type 1 diabetes.

Appropriate blood sugar levels

Type 1 diabetes is caused by damage to insulin-producing cells that leads to an insulin deficiency. People with type 1 diabetes need to keep their blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible, and usually check their blood sugar levels at least four times a day. For a non-diabetic, normal blood sugar level is somewhere between about 70 and 120 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). For a type 1 diabetic, doctors may recommend blood blood sugar level between 80 to 180 mg/dL.

Checking blood sugar levels

Individuals with type 1 diabetes usually use a finger-pricking device to take a small blood sample. The blood sample is then placed on a strip for a specialized blood glucose meter. This process is so simple that even children are usually able to learn it quickly and take their own blood sugar levels. A different, newer device can constantly monitor blood glucose levels, but still requires finger pokes during the course of the day. However, it can help individuals figure out what behaviors may cause blood sugar level swings.

Type 1 diabetics must monitor blood sugar levels throughout the day. Controlling type 1 diabetes is possible, but it requires vigilance and dedication.

Common Side Effects of Insulin

There is always a risk of side effects when taking any medication, major or minor. Although many people have little to no side effects when taking medication, even something as commonly used as insulin for diabetics. Redness, swelling or itching at the injection site is a relatively common occurence and is considered a mild side effect, but it is recommended that you discuss all side effects with a physician, regardless of whether they are mild or severe.

Side effects of insulin

The most common and serious side effect of insulin is hypoglycemia. Severe hypoglycemia can cause confusion, sweating or tachycardia. Hypoglycemia can also result in coma, seizures, cardiac arrhythmias, neurological deficits and even death. It is recommended that patients at risk for hypoglycemia, or those unable to recognize the symptoms, monitor their blood or urine glucose daily. The risk for developing hypoglycemia is higher in patients that receive intensive or continuous insulin therapy. Other allergic reactions include: rash, hives, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, itching, swelling of the mouth, face, tongue or lips, wheezing, muscle pain, chills, drowsiness, dizziness, changes in vision, fast or irregular heartbeat, fainting, loss of consciousness, mood changes, seizures, slurred speech, tremors and unusual hunger. There is also a current evaluation underway concerning the relationship between insulin and dyslipidemia.

It is highly recommended that all side effects from insulin, or any medication, are discussed with a medical professional as quickly as possible. Ignoring side effects to a medication can lead to the compounding of medical issues.

Type 1 Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Diabetes mellitus type 1, commonly called Diabetes type 1, is an autoimmune condition that affects as many as three million Americans today. Although it is commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents, it can appear in people of any age, and it continues as a chronic condition for life.

Causes

The body uses a hormone called insulin to transfer glucose, a kind of sugar, into the body's cells. This hormone is made by beta cells in the pancreas. However, some people's beta cells stop producing insulin at some point in their lives. Although scientists are not sure about what causes the cells to stop making insulin, they have determined that some people are genetically prone to developing the disease. There is also a substantial environmental component, but scientists have yet to discover exactly what in the environment acts as a trigger. Potential culprits include viruses, dietary choices and even breastfeeding practices!.

Symptoms

Without insulin, glucose builds up in the blood, a condition that is toxic and ultimately fatal. However, people who suffer from this condition first experience a number of telltale symptoms. First of all, they experience polyphagia and polydipsia, otherwise known as increased hunger and thirst. The increased liquid intake leads to polyuria (increased urination). They may also experience fatigue, blurry vision and tingling or loss of sensation in the feet. A person experiencing any of these symptoms for a prolonged period should consult his or her doctor to see if they are an indication of Diabetes type 1.

Treatments

To treat type 1 diabetes, patients must take insulin, either through an insulin pump or injections. They must also eat a carefully regulated diet. Both of these courses of treatment help control the blood glucose level. In more extreme cases, doctors may recommend a pancreatic transplant, though this is hard on a patient's body. At this time, there is no simple cure for his disease, but people who suffer from it can have long, active lives if they follow the medical and dietary guidelines that they develop with their doctors.

Type 1 diabetes makes life difficult, but it is manageable. People who notice the telltale signs of this disease should contact their doctors. The current treatments for the disease help sufferers live normal lives, and new, experimental treatments may one day eliminate the disease.

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