Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus type 1 is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. It is also known as “Juvenile diabetes”. It accounts for only 5% of diabetic cases.

Normally, the body’s immune system fights against the foreign particles like virus, bacteria, etc. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s own immune system destroys the insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas. This results in complete deficiency of the insulin hormone, leading to increased blood and urine glucose (sugar).

The cause of type 1 diabetes is not exactly known. But anyone with a parent or sibling with type-1 diabetes has an increased risk of this diabetes. It may occur due to genetic factors. It may also occur when exposed to virus and bacteria. Other factors may include diet and lifestyle.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes are as follows:

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

Exposure to viruses like mumps, cytomegalovirus, etc may trigger the destruction of pancreatic cells leading to type-1 diabetes.

Early drinking of cow’s milk, which is a good source of vitamin D, increases the risk of diabetes because of antibodies against the proteins in cow’s milk.

When born with jaundice or have a respiratory infection after birth, children are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes mellitus.

It is very important to diagnose diabetes as early as possible so that treatment can be started. If you notice in your child the symptoms of type-1 diabetes, you may need to get the following tests done.

Urine test:

The urine sample will be tested for glucose content. Urine does not usually contain glucose but if you’re diabetic some glucose can overflow through the kidneys into urine.

Also, test for ketones and their presence in the urine, which is indicative of type-1 diabetes.

Blood test:

A sample of blood is withdrawn early in the morning while fasting (empty stomach) to check blood glucose levels.

Oral glucose tolerance test:

You are asked to fast for 8 hours before the testing. The blood is taken for the test during fasting. Thereafter, you would be asked to drink sugar water, and then blood sugar is tested after 2 hours.

Normal values:

Fasting: under 108mg/dl

After 2 hours: under 130mg/dl

Diabetic values:

Fasting: under 130 mg/dl

After 2 hours: under 200 mg/dl

As the disease progresses, you may find the following complications.

Heart and blood vessel disease

Diabetes increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems like coronary heart diseases, stroke, heart attack, etc.


Excess glucose in the blood can injure the tiny blood vessels that nourish the nerves, especially the nerves present in legs. This can cause numbness, tingling, burning or pain in the feet.


Diabetes can damage the delicate filtering system present in kidneys. Severe damage can cause kidney failure.


Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of retina leading to blindness.

Pregnancy complications

High blood sugar levels are dangerous to both the mother and baby. In mother diabetes increases the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, retinopathy, and pregnancy induced high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

The treatment includes, keeping the blood sugar levels close to normal and preventing the complications. The goal is to keep your blood sugar levels within the range of 80 – 120 mg/dl before meals and 100- 140 mg/dl after meals.

The Type 1 diabetes treatment plan includes:

  • Taking insulin doses regularly
  • Eating healthy foods
  • Exercising regularly
  • Monitoring blood sugar levels
  • Make a commitment to manage your blood sugar levels close to normal. Go for regular medical checkups and regular eye screenings.
  • Take care of your teeth by brushing at least twice daily and flossing every day in order to avoid dental infections. Since diabetes slows down the healing of dental infections and prolongs duration of disease once acquired.
  • Pay attention to your feet. Daily wash your feet with lukewarm water. Check your feet diligently for blisters or any infections.
  • Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
  • Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly is needed.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.