Did you know that about 463 million people in the world have diabetes? Experts predict this number will increase by 25% in 2030 and 51% by 2045. Do you have diabetes or know someone who does?
There are 3 types of diabetes. Continue reading to learn about type 1 diabetes. You’ll also find tips for living a healthy life.
Understanding Type 1 Diabetes
Diabetes Mellitus refers to a condition in which the body has too much sugar in the bloodstream. Glucose is the medical term for sugar. Our bodies use glucose as fuel.
The liver and kidneys make glucose for the body’s use. But, most of the body’s sugar comes from the food we eat. The hormone insulin, which comes from the pancreas, regulates our blood sugar level.
Insulin also increases the blood sugar level and sends it to the muscles, liver, and fat where it’s used or stored. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin, the blood glucose is not regulated. This results in a build-up of sugar in the bloodstream.
When blood sugar levels remain too high, damage can occur to every blood vessel in the body. The damaged lining of these blood vessels collect plaques that block the blood flow. This can result in blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes, amputations, and more.
Low blood glucose levels deprive the body of needed energy. This compromises normal functions and can cause death.
Reason for Blood Sugar Testing
People with diabetes use blood glucose testing to determine what actions to take to keep their sugar within a certain range. It’s important to test on a regular schedule and anytime they don’t feel well.
Blood sugar levels normally go up and down during each 24-hour period. Diet and exercise, as well as illness and stress, can cause changes. The goal of diabetic treatment is to keep the glucose level within a set range to decrease side effects.
Glucose monitoring is now accomplished via three different modes. These include flash glucose monitors, finger-prick testing meters, and continuous glucose monitors.
Flash glucose monitors use a small sensor placed on the back of the upper arm. This sensor completes a scan which gives a glucose reading. One sensor can last for up to 10 days.
The traditional method of testing blood glucose is by using a finger-prick test. The drop of blood is then placed on a test strip that’s inserted in the meter. The meter then displays the glucose level.
Continuous glucose monitors (CGM) use a thin sensor that’s placed just beneath the skin. It provides a constant measure of the interstitial fluid glucose level. Interstitial fluid is present in the fat layer under the skin.
Since the CGM is a relative measure of the blood glucose, it’s considered a reference guide for fluctuations in glucose. If this meter shows a high or low reading or the person feels bad, a finger-stick test is performed for confirmation. Treatment is then based on all the collected data.
You can learn more here about blood sugar monitoring.
Type 1 Diabetes Meds
Since type 1 diabetic’s bodies don’t make insulin, they must get it from an external source. This treatment must continue for their entire life. Today, insulin is given via injections or continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII).
The method of delivery depends on what works best for the individual patient. While the CSII means fewer needle sticks, it doesn’t always provide the best control. The healthcare providers work with the patients to adjust treatment plans as needed.
Insulin pumps are often used with different glucose monitoring systems. Some new meters have CGMs built-in.
When using a CSII, the patient places a thin catheter in the fat tissue just below the skin. This must be relocated every few days.
Insulin injections are now often given using an insulin “pen”. The pen comes filled with insulin and has a dial to select the dosage. The patient places a new needle on the pen for each injection.
Clinical trials are now testing the efficacy of a nasal spray and a patch insulin delivery system. Additional trials are looking at curative treatments such as an artificial pancreas.
Diabetes Diet Advice
Some people believe that all you need to do to cure diabetes is to stop eating candy and cookies. This is false.
While it’s important to control the amount of sugar intake, you also must limit carbohydrates. Carbohydrates create sugars during the digestive process.
Avoiding sugar doesn’t solve the problem of the body not making insulin. In the past, treatment often focused on trying to eliminate sugar in the diet and taking insulin.
Today, patients are encouraged to eat a healthy diet high in protein and fiber. Diabetics must monitor the number of carbohydrates they eat. Insulin dosing is then based on the carbohydrate intake and the glucose level at the time.
Diabetes Health Tips
Exercise is beneficial for everyone, including diabetics. Diabetics must watch their blood sugar, drink plenty of fluids, and take insulin as needed. Yet, this does not mean they should avoid exercise.
If the blood sugar reaches very high levels, though, the person should not exercise at that time. High glucose levels make the body more acidic. Exercise can increase lactic acid in the muscles and worsen this acidic state.
Today, most diabetics can take part in any activity they wish. The key is to adhere to monitoring and treatment regimens to keep the blood glucose level steady.
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