Type 1 DiabetesWith type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to convert glucose into energy.
For glucose (blood sugar) to become usable energy for the body, the hormone insulin has to help it move into the cells. Type 1 diabetes—previously known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes—is a condition in which the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin (if any at all) to give the glucose somewhere to go. This leads to a buildup of excess blood sugar, which can cause great damage throughout the body if left untreated or improperly managed.
Causes of Type 1 DiabetesType 1 diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune disorder that attacks the cells in the pancreas responsible for making insulin, as a possible result of genetics and environmental factors. Unlike type 2 diabetes, diet and lifestyle habits do not have any effect on whether a person will develop type 1 diabetes.
While type 2 diabetes is most often diagnosed in adults, type 1 diabetes is usually seen in people age 20 and under.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
Some symptoms of type 1 diabetes are similar to those of the flu, so it is important for a patient to seek a proper diagnosis if there is any reason to believe it could be diabetes. Its symptoms include:
- Intense thirst and hunger
- Urinating frequently
- Losing weight without trying
- Nausea, vomiting or stomach pain
- Blurry vision
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Dry skin
- Sores that heal slowly
- Getting more infections than usual
Without proper care, type 1 diabetes can lead to serious and even life-threatening complications, such as:
- Heart and blood vessel disease
- Neuropathy (nerve damage)
- Nephropathy (kidney damage)
- Eye damage
- Foot damage
Diagnosing Type 1 Diabetes
All it takes to get a diagnosis for any type of diabetes is a glucose test, which is generally administered as a blood test. The most commonly ordered test is an A1C test, though a doctor could also call for a fasting blood sugar test, a random blood sugar test or a glucose tolerance test.
Treating Type 1 Diabetes
It is possible for patients with type 1 diabetes to manage their condition with insulin therapy, dietary modifications and other healthy lifestyle choices. However, some patients may eventually require a kidney or pancreas transplant. At Tampa General Hospital, we evaluate each potential transplant patient on an individual basis. We treat all types of diabetes and endocrine disorders, and our comprehensive approach to treatment helps many diabetic patients live long and healthy lives.