BACKGROUND: Close to 8% of the United States population has diabetes and out of all the people with diabetes, 5% of them have type 1 diabetes. (Source: www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov) Usually occurring in children, adolescents, and young adults, type 1 diabetes occurs when beta cells do not produce or produce very little insulin. Insulin is a hormone created by beta cells that are located in the pancreas. Without the right amount of insulin, glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of spreading into the cells and results in the body not being able to use this glucose for energy. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes remains unknown. Doctors believe it is an autoimmune disorder that starts as an infection that then can trigger the body to attack the beta cells. (Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
SYMPTOMS: Type 1 diabetes signs and symptoms can come quickly.
- When blood sugar is high, symptoms can include: being very thirty, feeling hungry, feeling fatigued, losing weight, having tingling feet, having blurry eyesight, urinating more often, stomach pain, flushed face, fruity breath odor, flushed skin, nausea, dry skin and mouth, and rapid breathing.
- Blood sugar can become low when diabetics take insulin. Symptoms usually appear when blood sugar falls below 70mg/dL, they include: hunger, weakness, sweating, headache, shaking, rapid heartbeat, nervousness. (Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
TREATMENT: Once the doctor analyzes the patients’ blood sugar monitoring and urine testing, they will develop a diary of meals, snacks, and insulin injections that they should follow. Insulin lowers blood sugar by letting it leave the bloodstream and enter cells. All type 1 diabetes patients have to take insulin every day. Insulin is injected under the skin, but sometimes a pump can deliver the insulin all the time. Insulin injections depend on the individual person. The insulin amount has to be adjusted when they exercise, eat more or less food, travel, and when they are sick. One of the most important parts of treatment is managing blood sugar levels. Patients can check their blood sugar levels at home, usually by pricking their finger with a small needle called a lancet to get a tiny drop of blood. The blood is then placed on a strip and into the device to read. (Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
NEW TECHNOLOGY: A new technology, called the Veo insulin pump, is taking diabetes management to a new level. A risk of type 1 diabetes is the risk of death through low blood sugar. This pump monitors every waking and sleeping hour. It monitors and records glucose levels so the patient and doctor know exactly what is happening. It makes easy therapy adjustments and it warns when the glucose levels are off target. The pump will automatically stop insulin delivery when glucose levels are dangerously low to help reduce the chances of severe hypoglycemia. The pump is smaller than most mobile phones. It acts like a pancreas by pumping tiny amounts of insulin into the body all day. It can be clipped to a belt, kept in a pocket, or hid under the clothes. A tiny tube is connected from the pump to an even smaller tube (cannula) that sits under the skin. It can easily be disconnected and reconnected. The pump is awaiting FDA approval in the U.S., but is available in several countries. (Source: www.Medtronic-diabetes.co.uk)