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Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. During the disease process, the body mistakenly recognizes the islet cells (the cells that produce the hormone insulin in the pancreas) as foreign and destroys them. As a result, people with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin.

There is no cure for type 1 diabetes, and it cannot be prevented. It is a lifelong condition. Type 1 diabetes must be treated with insulin. Successful treatment of this disease must integrate a whole lifestyle adjustment in addition to insulin therapy.

Formerly called juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes, type 1 diabetes usually appears before the age of 20, although there are cases in people older than this. People with type 1 diabetes need to diligently manage their disease to remain healthy and reduce the risk of medical complications.

In addition to insulin therapy, careful monitoring of glucose levels, carbohydrate intake, and a healthy diet and exercise work in tandem to control the symptoms and improve the health and well-being of people with this disease.

Many people with type 1 diabetes lead long, healthy lives. Improvements in insulin therapy and technology have greatly improved the management of this condition.

At Endocrine Kids in Novi, Michigan, we know that an established relationship with your healthcare provider is a critical factor in leading a normal, active life. Successful disease management means working as a team with your doctor and family.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes tend to develop rapidly and may often resemble symptoms of the flu or stomach flu. Even after diagnosis, it is important to know the signs of elevated blood sugar. Here are some warning signs to look for:

  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme thirst and dry mouth
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Increased hunger
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Urinary tract/vaginal infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches

If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, seek treatment immediately. Type 1 diabetes can be life-threatening if not diagnosed promptly.

Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is always treated with insulin. Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone produced in the body from the islet cells in the pancreas and is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism. The body cannot survive without insulin, so patients with type 1 diabetes depend on external insulin for their survival because the hormone is no longer produced internally.

Insulin as a treatment for those who do not produce it naturally was discovered in 1923. Early forms of insulin came from the pancreas of cows and pigs. Since the early days, great strides have been made and there are now several types of synthetic insulin that closely mimic insulin produced in the body.

In addition, insulin is now available in varying actions such as long-acting, short-acting, and delayed release, giving patients treatment options best matched to their needs. Insulin may be administered in several ways:

  • Multiple daily injections (MDI)with single-use syringes
  • Insulin pump
  • Repeated-use insulin pens with disposable needles

Lifestyle factors, activity levels, and the child’s personality play an important role in determining what will control their diabetes most effectively. Dr. Bishop takes care to understand your child as an individual and prescribes treatment that will best suit him or her. There is no “one size fits all” in diabetes management.

If you suspect your child has type 1 diabetes or he or she was recently diagnosed, contact pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Jacalyn Bishop today. Endocrine Kids is conveniently located in Novi, Michigan. Call our office at (248) 347-3344 for an appointment or you can use our secure online appointment request form.

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