Type 1 Diabetes – is it genetic and can you lead a normal life?
Type 1 Diabetes is known by many other names; the most common ones include juvenile diabetes, insulin dependent diabetes and Diabetes Mellitus Type 1. It is one of the autoimmune diseases in which the beta cells of the pancreas, which create an important hormone (called insulin), are destroyed and consequently the pancreas produce little or no insulin at all. The result is that with not enough insulin in the body, the glucose fails to get absorbed in the cells for energy and the blood sugar level rises. There is no cure to Type 1 Diabetes but with proper and disciplined care, the patient can hope to live a long and otherwise healthy life; or else Type 1 Diabetes can prove to be fatal.
Diagnostic Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes usually appears in the patient during the early years; however, it can also develop in adults. As with all other major diseases, certain signs and symptoms will start to show up and these are the indications of Type 1 Diabetes. On the occurrence of these symptoms, it is advisable to consult the doctor. Following are the various symptoms.
- One of the few and consistent symptoms is frequent urination; also called
- The patient may experience increased thirst, which is also called Polydipsia.
- Then there is an increased hunger; known as Polyphagia,
- Loss of appetite and loss of weight
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth, also known as Xerostomia
Causes of Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes is considered to be an auto immune disease; however the exact cause of this disease is still unknown. Scientists have found that the immune system of a body starts attacking the beta cells of the pancreas which are responsible for producing insulin in the body.
- Genetics: Genetics seem to play a major role in the onset of type 1 diabetes in an individual. People whose close relatives, including parent or sibling, have type 1 diabetes are at an average 6% risk of developing this condition in their body as well. Generally the risk is greater if it is the father or the sibling rather than the mother. For all the other people, who have no family history of type 1 diabetes, the risk is under 0.5%. This type of diabetes is said to be polygenic disease which means that there are many different genes that can contribute to its onset. Depending upon their location on the chromosome, the disease can be dominant or recessive.
- Virus: Although the research is not complete, some scientists suggest that this diabetes can also be triggered by a particular virus. When the immune system starts attacking the virus, it starts to destroy the beta cells inthe pancreas as well.
For more information about diabetes type 1, the treatment of the condition and other useful material, visit the American Diabetes Association.
Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes
Since there is no cure to this disease, at best the effort can be made to maintain a stable and safe level of glucose in blood and this can be done through a number of ways.
- By taking insulin which is administered by injection, pen or pump.
- By eating healthy foods that are devoid of sugars and sweeteners.
- By exercising and maintaining an active lifestyle.
- By monitoring the blood sugar levels.
- And/or by transplant of pancreas or islet cells.