Type 1 diabetes is also sometimes known as “insulin-dependent diabetes”. Just like what the name says, individuals who are diagnosed with it need to receive insulin for the rest of their lives.
People who are suffering from it require insulin — either by injecting it into the body several times per day or by means of a pump that continuously infuses the body with it — because special cells in their pancreas no longer produce it. Such happens when the immune system attacks and damages those insulin-producing cells.
Insulin is important because it’s the one that helps the cells to utilize glucose in the blood for energy. Those with type 1 diabetes are administered with insulin so that their cells may be able to use glucose as fuel.
By the way, type 1 diabetes used to be known in the past as “juvenile diabetes”. It’s due to the fact that it’s mainly seen in children and young adults. However, times have changed and youngsters nowadays may also develop another form of diabetes, which is known as “type 2 diabetes”, plus adults may also be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, too.
Just like what’s mentioned earlier, the immune system is the one responsible for the damage of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. However, medical experts do not really know the exact cause of it. They do believe, however, that the environment and the genes are role players in the development of type 1 diabetes.
They add that type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 diabetes. In fact, up to 90% of all people who are suffering from diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
There are many different complications associated with type 1 diabetes. Some of them include increased risk of heart disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, blindness, and skin and mouth problems. Both pregnant women and the babies inside their wombs are also at risk. It’s because of the many different complications of type 1 diabetes why the disease has to be managed careful by someone who is diagnosed with it.
One of the steps to managing type 1 diabetes effectively is through the administration of insulin. However, it’s important to note that insulin is not regarded as a cure. Other steps that should be taken by someone with type 1 diabetes include regular exercise, lifestyle changes and going for the right diet.
Speaking of diet, there are a few things that individuals with type 2 diabetes have to remember diet-wise so that they can keep complications at bay. Some of them are:
- The fact is those who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes can eat anything they can think of. However, it’s definitely a good idea for them to stick to healthy foods and limit their intake of unhealthy ones, in particular those that can be detrimental to the disease they are suffering from.
- Good carbohydrates should be included in the diet. It’s important to supply their bodies with these nutrients so that their cells can have the energy they need for proper functioning, with the help of insulin.
- Whole grains and vegetables are excellent sources of good carbohydrates. Those with type 1 diabetes should also focus more of those that are known as low GI foods as they help keep the blood sugar stable. Some wonderful examples include beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, nuts and fish.
- Regular snacking is encouraged in order to keep the blood sugar from dropping to dangerous levels. Some great snacks include a small piece of fruit, rice cakes and crackers.
- Including foods with high quality protein in the everyday diet can also provide energy without causing sugar in the blood to fluctuate, plus it will help in building and maintaining muscles.
- It’s definitely a good idea for individuals with type 1 diabetes to steer clear of anything that’s fatty and sugary. They should do their best to stay away from foods that are commonly served at fast food joints, as well as those that are processed.