10 Things to Know About Type 1 Diabetes
10 Things to Know About Type 1 Diabetes
Anjum had type 1 diabetes mellitus since she was a teenager. Now in her 30s, she managed her health condition and was thankful the disease did not affect her children. Yet, she wanted them to be educated on facts about diabetes. She taught them to administer her insulin shots in case she needed their help to do so in the future. Anjum always believed in being prepared.
Diabetes mellitus has become increasingly common in major cities across the world. Experts blame this trend on our modern lifestyle that leaves us heavily dependent on processed foods and barely any exercise. Inspite of being such a common disease, very little is actually known about type 1 diabetes. If a close friend or a family member has the condition, here are 10 important things for you to know & understand the ailment better –
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease affecting the body’s ability to make insulin
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, in which the body’s cells attack the pancreas, thus lowering their ability to produce sufficient insulin. Insulin is needed for your cells to absorb glucose and use it for energy. Therefore type 1 diabetes treatment involves an external supply of insulin through injections.
2. It is important to recognize early signs to arrest the impact of diabetes
Type 1 diabetes symptoms are initially hard to detect as they resemble those of a viral flu. These include weight loss, frequent urination, excessive sweating, excessive thirst, restlessness and unexplained anxiety, constant fatigue, and blurry vision.
3 Uncontrolled diabetes can causes health complications
If insulin is not administered regularly, the body can suffer major health complications. Immediate complications include hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which can lead to headaches, numbness, and blackouts. Major long-term complications include glaucoma, kidney failure, diabetic neuropathy, and heart disease.
4. Sugar is not always bad
It is a myth that diabetics cannot consume sugar. They can consume sugar but in moderation, keeping in mind their insulin doses and their blood sugar levels. Infact, when a diabetic suffers from a low blood sugar spell, the only way to help him / her out of the condition is by feeding the patient something sweet or simply a spoonful of sugar.
5. Diabetes can be controlled to lead a normal lifestyle, but beware of claims that it can be fully cured
Till date, there is no scientifically proven cure for type 1 diabetes. There are merely ways to control it successfully & the adverse health effects caused by it. These include regular doses of insulin, a healthy diet, homeopathy and an active exercise. Be wary of false claims advertised with cures for diabetes as these have duped many people of their money.
6. Diet is the key to controlling diabetes
Diet plays the biggest role in successful control of diabetes. Indulging in your favourite treats is fine once in a while. However, a diabetic’s daily diet should be low in salt, sugar and oil. Moreover, with diabetes, one should never keep large gaps between meals as this can interfere with blood sugar levels.
7. Diabetes can affect libido
Type 1 diabetes mellitus is known to affect libido in both men and women. Additionally, men can also suffer erectile dysfunction. If you or your partner suffer from type 1 diabetes symptoms, do not be too hard on yourself. With proper counselling and medication, libido issues are successfully rectified.
8. Low blood sugar needs immediate action
If a person with diabetes tells you that they are suffering from low sugar, you need to act immediately. The first step is to make sure the person is seated. Feed him / her anything sweet; this could be a chocolate, sugary biscuits, or even sugar and salt mixed with water. Never delay treatment or tell the person to ‘go to sleep for a while’.
9. It is important to handle the emotional turmoil caused by diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease and as such has a profound mental impact on the person affected. Many diabetics go through a ‘burnout phase’ wherein they experience a mental breakdown or exhaustion from their insulin dependence. If you suspect that a close friend or a family member is emotionally troubled by diabetes, do seek appropriate counselling.
10. It is imperative for diabetics to wear proper footwear
Most people who have had diabetes for several years end up with a condition called diabetic neuropathy. Marked by a loss of sensation in the toes, feet and lower legs, this condition can leave a person unable to walk steadily or feel any cuts or bruises. Therefore, closed footwear is of extreme importance as due to the numbness, a diabetic can incur fractures, deep cuts or bruises without feeling a thing that could lead to more complications later.