Type one diabetes, otherwise known as insulin dependent diabetes and formerly referred to as juvenile diabetes, is a condition in which the body produces no insulin. It typically develops in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood and is fatal without treatment. With proper care and regular insulin administration to maintain blood sugar levels at appropriate levels, individuals with the condition can go on to live long, happy, and healthy lives without significant risk of complications. If diabetes is poorly controlled, it frequent leads to early death and significant morbidity.
Type One Diabetes – Insulin Dependent
Insulin dependent diabetes is considered to be an auto immune disorder. In simple terms, this means that the body’s immune system attacks the cells within the pancreas that produce insulin, making them useless. The result of no insulin production is an accumulation of glucose in the blood and urine which can lead to ketoacidosis, a potentially fatal complication.
The exact cause of Type one diabetes is not completely understood. One reason for this is that it appears spontaneously in otherwise healthy children and young adults. There is no known pre –diabetic state as there is with non – insulin dependent diabetes.
One of the more popular causation theories suggests that certain viral infections can precipitate pancreatic damage in genetically predisposed people. Another theory suggests that diet plays an important role in the development of the disorder. The belief is that certain foods create conditions in the digestive system that trigger a set of auto immune events. Another theory states that proteins in cow’s milk may play a part. The viral and diet theories are currently the most accepted, but are far from being proven as correct. Much more research must be completed before a cause can be pinned down with any degree of certainty.
The question of who is at risk for the insulin dependent diabetes is only partially understood. Genetic predisposition does run in families, but most type one diabetics have no significant family history of the disease. No predisposing or environment factors are typically identified. One interesting study concluded that if one identical twin has insulin dependent diabetes, the other twin will develop it between 30 and 50 percent of the time.
Type One Diabetes Only One Treatment
The only treatment for Type one diabetes is administration of insulin given via an injection just under the skin. Implanted insulin pumps and inhalers have been utilized over the years, but are rarely utilized today. Pancreas transplantation is currently being studied as an alternative, but is years from being proven as a safe and effective treatment for all, and perhaps, a decade or more away from being a viable option for a large number of diabetics.
There are two kinds of diabetes: types one and two. Type two diabetes, otherwise known as non – insulin dependent diabetes, differs from juvenile diabetes in that it typically affects individuals in middle to late adulthood and does not require insulin injections in its earliest stages. The causes of non – insulin dependent diabetes are more associates with lifestyle factors. The body is still able to produce insulin, but cells are unable to uptake and utilize it effectively.
Type two diabetes is far more common than type one and has nothing to do with auto immune problems; it is entirely lifestyle related. Complications for both diabetes types are similar and include poor circulation, kidney damage, increased risk of heart disease and stroke, neuropathy, vision loss and blindness. The longer a person has diabetes and the less he keeps his blood sugar levels tightly in check, the higher his likelihood of developing complications.
Type One Diabetes and Type Two Are Among the Leading Causes of Death in the U. S
Type two and Type one diabetes are among the leading causes of death in the U. S. and contribute to a large number of cases of heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. In fact, diabetics are at least twice more likely to have fatal heart attacks and strokes than people without the disorder. In addition, diabetes related blindness ranks number one among the causes of vision loss among U. S. adults. The number one reason for dialysis is kidney damage is diabetes.
Another troubling consequence of uncontrolled diabetes is the tens of thousands of infections and amputations resulting from poor circulation. More than 70,000 amputations are performed every year on diabetics with circulation problems.
It is believed that diabetes directly and indirectly costs the U. S. economy around 170 billion dollars on an annual basis. Individuals suffering from Type one diabetes and type two are often forced to stop working and receive government disability payments. Frequently, they require prolonged care giving by either a loved one or a professional. The costs to a diabetic’s family can reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars over the course of a lifetime.
If you or a loved one suffers from juvenile diabetes, know that there is hope. If you control blood sugar levels, you can go on to live a long and healthy life. The treatment options of the future look promising. Pancreas transplantation and stem cell therapies are two new therapies that may hold promise. Who knows, perhaps, medical science even holds a cure for Type one diabetes in its future.