Type 1 diabetes
Diabetes is a hormonal condition which escalates your blood sugar levels. There are two types diabetes: Type 1 and type 2. The former, however, is far less common than the later. According to the estimates of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US, only 5 to 10 per cent of diabetics suffer from type 1, globally. Scientists haven’t yet been able to find out the cause behind this type of diabetes. A family history of type 1 diabetes and certain environmental factors can up your risk of this condition.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
“Type 1 diabetes is a condition common in children and young people. It is also known as juvenile diabetes,” says Mumbai-based diabetologist Dr. Pradeep Gadge. It occurs when your immune cells destroy the beta cells of your pancreas, responsible for the secretion of insulin hormone. It is required to convert glucose onto energy. “When your body doesn’t have enough of this hormone, glucose doesn’t turn into energy. This increases the level of glucose or sugar in the blood and urine,” explains Dr. Gadge.
What Causes Type 1 Diabetes?
“The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is still unknown. There is no defined set of population to be considered at risk. However, research indicates that people who have a pool of autoantibodies in their body are at a higher risk of developing it,” says Dr Gadge. Research also suggests that genetic and environmental factors may play an instrumental role in the inception of type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes Risks
A lot is yet to be found out about type 1 diabetes. The factors that can make one vulnerable to this condition are also poorly understood. However, experts have identified some high-risk groups:
- Children who have both the parents suffering from diabetes
- Kids who have mothers with a history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
- Kids who have suffered an infection, injury or trauma of the pancreas
- People living in cold climates
Type 1 Diabetes Complications
High levels of sugar in the blood can affect other crucial organs and functions of the body. If not controlled on time, type 1 diabetes can be responsible for an increased risk of the following complications:
- Heart attack
- Vision issues (blindness included)
- Nerve damage
- Infections that aren’t easily cured (necessitating amputation in some cases)
- Kidney failure
Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes
Your doctor will review your symptoms suggest the following tests if he finds them indicative of diabetes:
Random Glucose Testing
This blood test checks your sugar levels at any given point of time in the day. A reading of 200 mg/dL may be indicative of diabetes.
Postprandial Plasma Glucose Test (PPGT)
You may need this as a follow-up test if the results of the random glucose test are high. This blood test tells your doctor about body’s tolerance towards glucose. You need to take 75g of glucose orally 2 hours after this for a PPGT. A reading of 200 mg/dl or above confirms diabetes. A reading is between 140 mg/dl and 200 mg/dl, on the other hand, is indicative of impaired glucose tolerance.
With this test your doctor will be able to find out average blood glucose levels over the past three months. Here’s how to read the result:
Normal: A1C level below 5.7%
Prediabetes: A1C ranging between 5.7 to 6.4%
Diabetes: A1C level of 6.5% or above.