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Type 1 Diabetes
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Type 1diabetes, or insulin-dependent diabetes, is an endocrine disorder characterized by chronic hyperglycemia, which is a consequence of insufficient production or action of insulin. The latter leads to the disruption of all types of metabolism, especially carbohydrate, vascular lesions, nervous system disorders as well as other organs and systems failure. At the turn of the century, type 1 diabetes has acquired epidemic proportions, being one of the most common causes of disability and death. As any disease, diabetes has its own risk factors, symptoms, treatment and preventive measures that will be discussed further.
The reason for type 1 diabetes is the death of beta cells, resulting in the expressed insulin deficiency, which, on the one hand, leads to starvation of cells and, on the other hand, to their poisoning (toxicity) by the products of fat breakdown. At the same time, blood circulates sufficiently excessive amount of glucose. As a consequence of the inconvertible deterioration of the pancreas beta cells, absolute deficiency of insulin is observed, leading to its almost complete absence in the body or severe shortage. Insulin cannot be produced anywhere else in the body. There may be several causes of the beta cells destruction; it is destruction by the action of viruses or self-destruction (autoimmune processes). Nowadays, active research on the ways to protect beta cells is constantly being conducted (Chiang, Kirkman, Laffel, & Peters, 2014). The only way to normalize the disturbed metabolism in type 1 diabetes is to give the body what it is missing, namely insulin.
Risk Factors and Prognosis
In the etiology, hereditary predisposition, autoimmune, cardiovascular disorders, obesity, mental and physical trauma, and viral infections are important. In case a person has a genetic susceptibility to type 1 diabetes, it is virtually impossible to prevent the illness. Currently, the prognosis of all types of diabetes is conditionally favorable, adequacy of treatment and adherence to diet maitain the ability to work. As a result, the development of type 1 diabetes is considerably slowed down or stopped. Nevertheless, one should note that, in most instances, the treatment does not fully eliminate the cause of this disease, and the therapy cures only symptoms (Chiang et al., 2014).
The first symptoms of type 1 diabetes generally emerge as a result of high level of glucose in the blood. When the glucose concentration in the blood reaches about 200 mg/dL, it starts to penetrate into the urine (Chiang et al., 2014). Over time, in case of the deterioration in the health of the patient, the level of glucose in the urine becomes very high. As a result, the kidneys excrete more water to dilute the huge amount of glucose in the urine. Polyuria is another symptom that appears at the early stage of illness. Polydipsia (constant thirst) is the next symptom that may appear; it manifests itself in frequent urination and drinking huge quantities of liquids. People lose weight because a lot of calories are lost with the urine. As a result, people experience hunger (increased appetite). Patients with type 1 diabetes usually experience the first symptoms all of a sudden, in a short period. Such state as diabetic ketoacidosis can develop very quickly.
Diabetes treatment course should be prescribed by a physician. Treatment of type 1 diabetes includes such components as
- Adjustment to the diet;
- Insulin therapy;
- Medication intake that reduces sugar level in the blood. With the progression of the disease, insulin therapy is impeding.
In the medical maintenance of type 1 diabetes, there are the next physician concerns:
- Compensating of carbohydrate metabolism;
- Prevention and treatment of complications;
- Normalization of body weight;
- Patient education.
For people suffering from type 1 diabetes, physical activity is useful (Lucini et al., 22013). Weight loss in obese patients has a therapeutic effect. Treatment of diabetes is held during the whole life. Self-control and precise execution of the doctor’s recommendations can avoid or significantly slow the progression of complications of the disease.
Type 1 diabetes is primarily a genetic disease, but it can also be acquired. Identified risk groups allow specialists to orient people, to warn them regarding careless and thoughtless attitude toward their health. All the people who are at risk need to be alert. One should pay particular attention to his/her state in the winter because in most cases, diabetes takes place during this period. In this period, a patient’s precursory symptoms may be considered as a viral infection.
Primary prevention measures of type 1 diabetes include the next steps (Skyler, 2013):
- Changes in the lifestyle and elimination of the risk factors;
- Reducing overweight;
- Prevention of atherosclerosis;
- Prevention of stress;
- Reduced consumption of food containing sugar and animal fat;
- Smart nutrition of infants in order to prevent diabetes at an early age.
Secondary prevention includes measures aimed at preventing the complications of diabetes, namely early control of the disease and warning of its progression (Skyler, 2013).
With the discovery of the hormone insulin, actually a new era in diabetology started; it became possible not only to effectively treat the disease but also prevent the development of serious complications of diabetes. Currently, type 1 diabetes is incurable. In fact, duration of life and ability to work of the patient is largely dependent on the timely detection of the disease, its severity, the patient’s age and the proper treatment. Therefore, people should be informed about the main preventive measures which include good nutrition, physical activity, obesity prevention or treatment.