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Diabetes: Type 1

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Diabetes: Type 1

November 5, 2013
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Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a higher level of glucose in the blood than normal.

Glucose cannot travel into the body’s cells as it normally should for lack of insulin. Insulin is a natural hormone that helps move glucose from your blood to your cells. When there is a problem making or using the insulin in the body, glucose will build up in the blood and will not complete its normal function of turning into energy.

With type 1 diabetes, the body does not create insulin. This will lead to Hyperglycemia, a buildup of glucose in the blood. When this happens your cells will not receive the amount of glucose they need and as a result will not function properly. After a long period of time, high blood glucose levels can be harmful to vital organs in the body. The most common organs affected are the kidneys, heart, blood vessels, eyes, and nerves.

Although not always, type 1 diabetes is usually found in childhood or early adulthood.

Causes of Type 1 Diabetes

Our immune system keeps us well by fighting off and destroying viruses and bacteria. Unfortunately, sometimes the immune system attacks healthy tissue. Most type 1 diabetes develop because the immune system attacks and destroys the cells that make insulin. These cells are in the pancreas.

It is not yet clear why the immune system attacks these cells. It is believed that some people have genes that make them prone to getting diabetes. For these people, certain triggers in the environment may make the immune system attack the pancreas. The triggers are not known but may be certain viruses, foods, or chemicals.

Type 1 diabetes may also develop as a complication of other medical conditions.

It may develop in:

  • People with chronic type 2 diabetes, who lose the ability to make insulin.
  • A person with chronic pancreatitis or has undergone pancreatic surgery. They may lose the cells that make insulin.

People older than age 45 years are at higher risk of developing this condition. However, it can occur at any age – even during childhood. Being overweight or obese is the primary cause of insulin resistance, and it increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

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