What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease. In type 1 diabetes, the cells in the pancreas that make insulin are destroyed, and the body is unable to make insulin. While the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, it is thought to be an autoimmune response; something, such as a virus, triggers the body’s immune system to create an antibody that kills the cells in the pancreas responsible for making insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that helps to lower blood sugar by allowing sugar to pass from the blood into the cells. When there is no insulin, blood sugar, called glucose, builds up in the blood. Glucose is a natural sugar that your body uses as a source of energy. It is obtained from food. Extra glucose is stored in the liver and muscle tissues. It is released when extra energy is needed, such as between meals or when sleeping. Normal levels of blood sugar are helpful, but when it builds up, it can cause both short term and long term problems.
High blood sugar levels can cause damage to various parts of the body. Poorly managed diabetes increases the risk of these complications, which include: Blindness, nerve pain, infections on the skin, especially the feet, that could require amputation in serious cases, kidney damage, and high blood pressure
Risk factors for type 1 diabetes are poorly understood. However, some factors have been tentatively identified.Heredity may be important in some cases of type 1 diabetes. If you have a family member with the condition, your risk of developing it is increased. Several genes have been tentatively linked to this condition. However, not everyone who is at risk for type 1 diabetes develops the condition. It is believed that there must be some type of trigger that causes type 1 diabetes to develop.
Younger people are more likely to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The most common age of diagnosis is between 11 and 14 years old. It is rarely diagnosed after age 40. If you feel you’re at risk, contact your local doctor for a medical examination.