Diabetes is characterised by the body’s inability to properly produce or convert insulin into fuel for cells. The hormone insulin is normally produced by the pancreas to control the levels of glucose in the blood. Type 1 diabetes is an auto immune disorder most prevalent in children due to sufferers born with a predisposition to the disease. This particular diabetes refers to the body’s inability to produce any, or insufficient levels, of insulin.
It is a common misconception that type 1 is solely hereditary; there have been cases which have not originated in any previous family disposition. Type 1 diabetes can be triggered by factors such as viral infections, consumption of certain toxins in food or damage to the insulin producing pancreas caused by tumours or injury.
There are also non-fatal complications that can result from badly controlled diabetes. If the individual develops peripheral vascular disease for instance, serious problems such as gangrene can arise. High glucose levels not only have an effect on arteries, but on the smaller blood vessels too. If these blood vessels are located in the eye, vision impairment can result. One of the most frequent causes of blindness is diabetes.
Problems can be avoided by checking glucose levels regularly and seeking medical advice should any concerns arise. Though diabetes in itself is incurable it is relatively controllable. Type 1 diabetes is controlled by insulin [taken in the form of a daily injection rather than orally due to destructive digestive enzymes] and a strict diet; ensuring a steady level of blood sugar is maintained.
Issues that affect life expectancy in type 1 diabetics are often avoidable when the diabetes is dealt with rather than ignored. Similar to conditions such as asthma or any controllable illness, the sooner the diabetes is diagnosed and the healthier the lifestyle the person leads, the better. The tighter the rein the individual maintains on type 1 diabetes more often than not determines the life expectancy they can look forward to.
Find out about the recent developments of the artificial pancreas.