Did You Know? Diabetes is now a huge threat to the life of our children and young adults. Its prevalence is alarming and calls for attention! There are 2 types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs in 5% to 10% of all diabetic patients. To understand type 1 diabetes it is necessary to take a look at how the human body works. All of the parts of the human body are made up of millions of cells which are capable of replication. The human body has many different kinds of cells. In one single cell of life, there are communication and transportation systems, among others. These body cells provide us with the energy required to move around, play and grow. Just like putting fuel in the car to drive, these cells also need energy to function.
Cells need glucose which comes from the carbohydrates (carbs) that we eat. Insulin is required to break down glucose for energy. These carbs from foods like pasta, rice and bread are broken down into smaller units in the stomach and blood transports them around the body. The pancreas in people with type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin and this results in high blood glucose levels. Insulin is like a key that unlocks the doors of cells to let glucose in.
Type 1 diabetic patients have to take daily insulin by injection from a syringe, an insulin pump, or an insulin pen. They also need to monitor their blood glucose levels to make sure it stays within the normal limits. They should rotate the injection sites to avoid skin irritation and absorption problems. Type 1 diabetic patients should receive proper training to know when to self- adjust their insulin dose as well as when to seek medical help. New approaches for administering insulin are currently under development. Researchers are developing an artificial pancreas that is a mechanical device that automatically adjusts insulin delivery based on changes in glucose levels throughout the day.
Sometimes people with type 1 diabetes may notice that their blood glucose levels remain high while receiving treatment. This can happen if they forget to take their insulin shots, if they are not active enough, if they eat a lot, if they get stressed out or if they get sick.
Self-monitoring of blood glucose, regular exercise, eating small portions of healthy foods and connecting with other people living with diabetes for emotional support can all make a big difference. It is very important for people living with type 1 diabetes to balance their insulin doses with meals and the kind of physical activity they engage in every day.
Importance of Blood Glucose Monitoring
Insulin is used in type 1 diabetic patients since their pancreas can no longer make insulin. The goal of type 1 diabetes treatment is to keep blood glucose levels within the therapeutic range. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) helps patients to tightly maintain a normal glucose level. This leads to reduced risk of fluctuating or low blood glucose episodes. A recent enhancement to CGM gives parents or caregivers a more convenient way to monitor glucose levels remotely and continuously through an application that is linked directly to their computers or smartphone. Examples of these devices include the Dexcom GS with Bluetooth and Minimed Connect. Studies show that these devices are especially beneficial to children with a history of hypoglycemic unawareness, nighttime low blood glucose or those constantly having unpredictable blood glucose readings.
Other insulin delivery methods include insulin injections, insulin jet injectors, insulin pump, and insulin infuser.
Next: Side Effects Of Insulin