Type 1 Diabetes Kills Cells in the Body: Are they useful ones?

by Health Please

Posted on 11:34AM Sep 19, 2018 in General

Type 1 Diabetes Kills Cells in the Body: Are they useful ones?

Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic disease that destroys the body’s ability to produce insulin, a hormone used to break down and store energy from foods, in the Body in the form of glucose or sugar. In the absence of insulin, high levels of fat and glucose remain in the bloodstream. In the long run, this can severely damage the vital body organs. Type 1 Diabetes, earlier referred to as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, is normally caused at any age and is most frequently diagnosed during adulthood. In India, around 97,000 children have been affected by this condition. There is no specific known cause of Type 1 diabetes. Attempts to find specific causes have left scientists often bewildered, as no amount of research has enabled them to know the exact causes. However, after extensive research and lab tests using modern lab testing software and other techniques, the scientists have started to believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors are responsible for causing this condition, which approximately forms around 5 percent of the total population affected by diabetes in general.

Do Type 1 Diabetes kills Useful Cells In The Body?| Health Please

The symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes include dehydration, weight loss, and diabetic ketoacidosis. The presence of extra sugar in the blood stream makes the patient visit the washroom more often and through frequent urination, the patient keeps losing a lot of water from the body, and that leads to dehydration. The glucose that goes out of the body with urine also takes with it a lot of calories, which is precisely why a lot of people with diabetes get into a phase where they lose a lot of weight. With absence of insulin due to the absence of islet cells, the body never has glucose at its disposal to break down for energy. Thus, to find itself a source of energy, the body starts breaking down fat cells, which in turn creates a chemical called ketones. The liver releases stored that goes unused, and this gets stored up in the blood along with the acidic ketones.

This combination of blood sugar and ketones is called ketoacidosis and it can be life threatening if not treated immediately. As mentioned above, the type 1 diabetes indirectly damages your body by affecting vital organs over a period of time. To be specific, high glucose levels in the blood start affecting small blood vessels in eyes, kidney and heart, which is exactly why we hear many diabetes patients losing vision over time, while other few experience kidney failure and heart related diseases.

Type 1 diabetes is the least prevalent among diabetes case – as mentioned above, only about 5 percent of diabetic people have type 1 diabetes. It is an autoimmune disease where the Body loses its ability to recognize its own insulin producing beta cells, also known as the islet cells and starts destroying them. A few of the islet cells still manage to survive and even persist and proliferate for years after the disease has started. There are several blood tests and lab tests to diagnose the type 1 diabetes. A random blood sugar test helps ascertain the random blood sugar. A reading of 200 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL) or 11.1 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) or higher suggests diabetes. Glycated haemoglobin (A1C) test indicated the average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Fasting blood sugar test also helps. Various blood tests to detect anti-bodies that are common in type 1 diabetes and urine tests to check for the presence of ketones also suggest type 1 diabetes.

After an individual is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, the immune system, that normally ignores healthy cells but destroys germs and foreign substances that could be a cause of illness, mistakenly launches an attack on the body itself, and starts destroying the insulin producing islet cells in the pancreas, thereby limiting the body’s capacity of insulin production. This automatically increases the sugar and fat levels in the bloodstream. The islet cells in the pancreas, also known as the Beta cells, are the ones responsible for the production and control of insulin.

In India, as mentioned above, around 97,000 children have been affected by type 1 diabetes. In New Delhi alone, there are around 32 cases per one lac children. While the ratio isn’t alarmingly high, it’s growing slowly. Researchers have also blamed the changing lifestyle as a reason for this. After the diagnosis, the life of a patient who is type 1 diabetic becomes traumatic as there are a lot of limitations due to the need of regular injection of insulin in the Body, for better glucose levels management. This specifically becomes a sort of a stigma for children, who gradually come to grasp the reality of the disease, if at all. The management is a lot easier than the way it’s perceived. With proper management, a type 1 diabetes patient can very well lead normal life.

It’s paramount to keep a track of the blood sugar levels and inject insulin as advised by the Doctor. Children, however, neither check their sugar levels nor take the insulin doses due to social stigma in school and when with friends. There’s always a feeling of insecurity and inadequacy in comparison with peers due to type 1 diabetes. Because of the disease, children and their parents are sceptical about taking part in sports. There’s always an apprehension in people’s attitude towards such children, and this aggravates the situation for them. They are seen and treated in a way that they will never be able to lead normal lives. Such myths and attitude hinder the treatment and awareness encircling the disease. People are aware of the emerging ways of checking blood sugar levels, but refrain from using them as they are uncomfortable about how people around will think of them. Thus, the technology that will actually give them a better lifestyle goes unused.

The type 1 diabetes can happen to anyone, although it’s a lot more prevalent in children. There is also a myth that people with type 1 diabetes shouldn’t have children, especially a woman, who people think passes the disease to the child. We take this opportunity to bust this myth. It’s a misconception and even if either of the two parents has the disease, they can have a healthy child. The mother in this case has to be a bit careful about her glucose levels during pregnancy. Also, high sugar intake does not necessarily cause type 1 diabetes.

All in all, it’s important to keep a tab on blood sugar levels and take the insulin doses regularly. If you can manage to do that, there’s no reason why you cannot live a normal lifestyle.

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