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Type 1 Diabetes is a condition in which your immune system destroys insulin producing cells in your pancreas that are known as beta cells. This condition is usually diagnosed in children and young people. It is also known as juvenile diabetes. A condition called secondary diabetes like type 1 diabetes but your beta cells are wiped out by something else. Like a disease or an injury to your pancreas rather than by your immune system. Both of these are not the same with type 2 diabetes in which your body does not respond to insulin in the way it should.

Type 1 diabetes


Insulin is a hormone that helps move sugar or glucose in to your body tissues. Your cells use it as fuel. Damage to beta cells from type 1 diabetes throws off the process. Glucose do not move in to your cells  because insulin builds up in your blood and your cells become starve. This causes high blood sugar that can lead to:

  1. DAMAGE TO YOUR BODY: Over time high glucose levels in your blood can harm the nerves and small blood vessels in your eyes, kidneys and heart. They can also make you more likely to get hardened arteries or atherosclerosis that can result in heart attacks and strokes.
  2. DEHYDRATION: When there is extra sugar in your blood, you urinate more. That is your body way of removing extra sugar. A large amount of water goes out with that urine, making your body to dry out.
  3. DIABETIC KETOACIDOSIS (DKA): If your body can’t get enough glucose for fuel, it will break down fat cells instead. It produces chemical known as ketones. Your liver releases the sugar it stores to help. Your body can’t use it without insulin. So it builds up in your blood together with acidic ketones. The combination of extra glucose, dehydration and acid build up is called ketoacidosis. It can be life threatening if not treated immediately.
  4. WEIGHT LOSS: The glucose which goes out when you urinate takes calories together with it. That is why several people with high blood sugar lose weight.

There’s no way you can prevent type 1 diabetes. Doctors don’t know all the things that cause type 1 diabetes. They know that your genes play a role.



The signs and symptoms are often but they can become severe. They are:

  1. Crankiness or changes in mood.
  2. Extreme thirst.
  3. Dry mouth.
  4. Increased hunger especially after eating.
  5. Bed wetting in a child who is dry at night.
  6. Stomach upset and vomiting.
  7. Blurry vision.
  8. Fatigue.
  9. Heavy laboured breathing.
  10. Unexplained weight loss, even though you are eating.
  11. Frequent urination.
  12. Frequent skin infections.


  • Shaking and confusion
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of consciousness (rare).

Type 1 Diabetes Complications

Type 1 diabetes can lead to other problems, especially if not well managed. Complications are:

(1) RETINOPATHY: This eye condition occurs in about 80% of adults who have had type 1 diabetes for more than 15 years. It is not common before puberty, no matter how long you have had the disease. To prevent it and keep your eye sight. Maintain normal blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.

(2) GUM DISEASE: A lack of saliva, too much plaque and poor circulation of blood can cause mouth problems.

(3) KIDNEY DAMAGE: About 20% to 30% of people with type 1 diabetes get a condition called nephropathy. The chances go up over time. It is most likely to show up to 15 to 25 years after the onset of diabetes. It can lead to other severe health conditions such as kidney failure and heart disease.

(4) SKIN PROBLEMS: People with diabetes are more likely to get bacteria or fungi infections. Diabetes can also cause blisters or rashes.

(5) POOR BLOOD FLOW AND NERVE DAMAGE: Damaged nerves and hardened arteries lead to loss of feeling in and a lack of blood supply to your feet. This raises your chances of injury and makes it harder for open sores and wounds to heal. When that happens you could lose limb. Nerve damage can also cause digestive problems like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

(6) CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE: Diabetes can put you at higher risk of blood clots as well as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These can lead to chest pain, heart attack, stroke or heart failure.

(7) PREGNANCY PROBLEMS: Women with type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of early delivery, birth defects, still birth and preeclampsia.


Only about 5% of people suffering from diabetes suffers from type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes affects both males and females. You are at greater risk of getting type 1 diabetes, if you are:

  • Younger than 20 years of age.
  • White
  • Has a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes.


There’s no standard diet for diabetes. A nutritionist or dietician can assist you to come up with meal plans to create a diet that works for you in the long term. If you have problem managing type 1 diabetes work with your doctor or dietician to help you to manage your medications and timing of your meal.

Diabetes Diet


There are three types of carbohydrates: starches, sugar and fiber. Carbohydrates turn in to sugar in your digestive tract and are then absorbed into your blood stream. This raises your blood glucose levels. Some carbohydrates will act faster on blood sugar than others. If you’re experiencing low blood sugar levels. Choosing a fast acting carbohydrates that digest quickly and absorbed in the blood stream are better choices. Beginning with about 15 grams of carbs should be adequate. Re – check your blood sugar and have another 15 grams if your blood glucose reading is still low.


Proteins are very important in maintaining muscle and repairing wounds. Proteins are found in beans, eggs and meat. Protein will not directly elevate your blood pressure. Limit your intake of processed or fatty meats that contain higher level of saturated fat and sodium. They have no direct effect on blood sugar but eating too much can be harmful to your heart.


Fruits are natural sources of sugar. They should be regarded as carbohydrates if you’re on a diet plan. You can choose fresh or frozen fruits. It is important to know how many carbohydrates in particular portions of fruits based on your insulin needs and overall blood sugar management plan.


Whole grains are a nutritious and fibrous starch. It is recommended that at least 50% of grains eaten should be whole grain. Read labels and be mindful of total intake in one sitting. To make sure your blood sugar is regulated with medication. Brown rice, gluttonous rice, bran cereal and whole grain bread are better sources.


Fats are necessary for optimal functioning of the brain and heart. Examples of healthy fats are avocados, nuts and seeds. Fats won’t directly raise your blood sugar. Expert recommended that you limit your consumption of processed or fatty meats that contain higher levels of saturated fat and sodium. Eating too much of them can have harmful effects particularly heart disease.


Starch is a type of sugar that naturally occur in many known vegetables such as: potatoes, maize (corn), and peas. Starchy vegetables contains more carbohydrates and should be eaten in moderation. Non – starchy vegetables have lesser effect on your blood sugar. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. Examples are: water yam (dioscorea alata), coco yam, Irish potatoes, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, celery, onions, cucumbers, beets, and sprouts.


It is important you know which food to limit to keep your blood sugar in a normal range. Limit how much and how often you eat foods high in sugar and processed carbohydrate. They are: chips, crackers, cookies, candy, pie, ice cream, cakes. Sugar and processed carbohydrates make blood sugar rise and drop quickly.


Do not drink, drinks sweetened with sugar such as: energy drinks, flavoured milk, egg nog, fruit juice, regular soda, sports drinks, lemonade, sweet tea. You can drink these to treat a low blood sugar. Do not eat breakfast foods with a lot of sugar and simple carbohydrates. Examples are: doughnuts, breakfast pastries, flavoured oatmeal, pop – tarts, toaster pastries. Instead try: fruit for a sweet treat, raw veggies and dip for a crunchy treat. Drinks sweetened with artificial sweeteners such as:

  • Diet soda
  • Mio
  • Crystal light
  • Powerade zero


People that are suffering from type 1 diabetes can live healthy and long lives. With the guidance of your doctor you will need to maintain normal blood glucose levels, adjust your insulin, food and physical exercise as necessary. People with type 1 diabetes use insulin shots to regulate their blood glucose. “onset” is how long it takes insulin to enter your blood stream and to lowering your blood glucose. “Peak time” is when insulin is doing the most work in terms of lowering your blood glucose. “Duration” is how the insulin keeps functioning after onset.


Your doctor will help you to get the types of insulin that is best for you. Most comes in a small glass bottles known as vial. That can be draw out with the help of syringe which has needle and inject yourself with a shot. Some can be inhaled. Some types come in a prefilled pen. You can also get insulin from a pump, a device you wear which transfer the insulin in to your body through a small tube. They’re:

  1. Rapid – acting: It begins to work in about 15 minutes. It peaks about 1 hour after you take it and continues to function for 2 to 4 hours.
  2. Regular short – acting: It begins to function in about 30 minutes. It peaks between 2 and 3 hours and keeps functioning for 3 to 6 hours.
  3. Intermediate – acting: Won’t get into your blood stream for 24 hours after taking your shot. It peaks from 4 to 12 hours and function for 12 to 18 hours.
  4. Long – acting: Takes many hours to get in to your system and lasts for about 24 hours.


Exercise is an important part of treating type 1 diabetes.  But it is not as simple as going for a run. Exercise affects your blood glucose levels. So you have to balance your insulin dose and food you eat with physical activity. Even if it is simple tasks around your house or garden. Exercise and physical activity lowers blood sugar. If you are going for intense exercise. It is better you check your blood glucose levels before and after exercise. To enable you to know how much you will eat to maintain a healthy blood sugar levels.

FINALLY, knowing what to eat and when to eat matters. Meal timing is very important for people with type 1 diabetes. Your meals must match with insulin doses. Eating a meal with a low glycemic load (index) makes meal timing simpler. Low glycemic load (index) meals slowly and steadily elevate blood sugar, leaving enough time for the body (or the injected insulin dose) to respond. Skipping a meal or eating late puts you at risk for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Type 1 diabetes cannot be cured but it can be managed. People with type 1 diabetes can live long and healthy lives.

This write up is not meant to be a substitute to where the service of medical professional or dietician is urgently needed.






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