Diabetes means your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. With type 1 diabetes, your pancreas does not make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose get into your cells to give them energy. Without insulin, too much glucose stays in your blood. Type 1 diabetes happens most often in children and young adults. But it can appear at any age. Symptoms may include: • Thirstiness. • Urinating often. • Feeling hungry or tired. • Losing weight without trying. • Having sores that heal slowly. • Having dry, itchy skin. • Losing the feeling in your feet or having tingling in your feet. • Having blurry eyesight. A blood test can show if you have diabetes. If you do, you will need to take insulin for the rest of your life.
Type 1 diabetes prevents the body from removing sugar from the blood stream normally. Diabetes can lead to serious health problems if it is not treated. Currently, there is no cure for diabetes, but there are ways that you can control it. This health information will help you understand type 1 diabetes and how to control it.
Diabetes is diagnosed when your blood sugar is too high.The food we eat is turned into sugar, called glucose. The blood stream carries the glucose to the cells. For glucose to enter a cell, 2 conditions must be present. 1. The cell must have enough “doors,” called receptors. 2. A hormone called insulin “unlocks” the receptors.
Insulin is a chemical hormone made by the pancreas. In a person without diabetes, insulin levels in the blood change depending on how much glucose is in the blood. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the pancreatic cells that make insulin. Therefore, people with type 1 diabetes do not have enough insulin in their bodies. People with type 1 diabetes must inject insulin. When type 1 diabetes is left untreated, your blood sugar can become very high. You may need to be in the hospital for IV fluids and insulin. Type 1 diabetes is most common in children and young adults and can occur at any age. Diabetes is NOT contagious. Common signs and symptoms of diabetes include: • Thirst. • Frequent urination. • Hunger. • Weight loss. • Feeling tired. • Changes in vision. • Dehydration. • Stomach ache.
If left untreated, the level of glucose in the blood can become very high, causing coma and sometimes death. This can happen within hours or days of the symptoms beginning! Each individual person with diabetes will have different signs and symptoms. These symptoms are a sign of your body being out of balance.
Currently, diabetes cannot be cured. However, blood sugar levels can be kept within a normal range, and diabetes can be controlled. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin shots daily. You and your diabetes health care team will work together to make a treatment plan to control your blood sugar.
Controlling Diabetes You can control diabetes with: • A healthy diet. • Exercise. • Blood sugar checks. • Insulin.
Your dietitian or diabetes educator will help you plan meals. The 3 goals of a healthy diet are: 3. Healthy weight/reducing body fat. 4. Normal blood sugar level. 5. Good energy level.
Your blood sugar is affected by: • WHAT you eat. • HOW MUCH you eat. • HOW OFTEN you eat.
Exercise is an important part of managing your diabetes. Your health care team will help you to create your exercise plan . Check with your health care provider before starting a new exercise program. A person who has type 1 diabetes will test their blood sugar before meals and at bedtime. This lets them know if their current plan is working. Your diabetes educator will teach you how to test your blood sugar. You will also learn how to make changes in insulin, diet, or exercise to help control your blood sugar. There are many different types of insulin. Your health care team will teach you how to give insulin. Having a daily routine helps you in your diabetes management. Insulin doses change with growth, weight gain, and length of time you have diabetes.
High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycemia)
When controlling diabetes, your blood sugar can become too high or too low. High blood sugar or hyperglycemia can occur from: • Too much food. • Not enough insulin. • Illness. • Stress.
Signs of high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, include: • Dry mouth. • Thirst. • Frequent urination. • Blurry vision. • Fatigue or drowsiness. • Weight loss.
When you have high blood sugar, drink water or other sugar-free liquids. Check your blood sugar and stick to your diet plan. You may need extra insulin. Ketones are formed when your body uses fat instead of glucose to make energy. A buildup of ketones in the body is a serious condition that could lead to coma or even death. This condition is called ketoacidosis, or DKA. Ketoacidosis occurs when there is not sufficient insulin in the body due to skipped insulin shots, or the body needs more insulin. A person with type 1 diabetes is at risk for DKA since the body cannot adjust to missed insulin or increased insulin needs. Symptoms of DKA (ketoacidosis) include: • Fruity breath. • Nausea. • Stomach pain. • Vomiting. • Rapid shallow breathing.
Call your health care provider or seek medical assistance if you have: • Symptoms of DKA. • Vomiting or diarrhea for 8 hours and you are unable to keep liquids down.
DKA is usually treated in a hospital setting. Insulin and IV fluids will be required. Do NOT delay treatment!
Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia) Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, may occur from: • Too much exercise. • Not enough food or skipping meals. • Too much insulin.
Signs of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, include: • Sweating, shaking, nervousness, and a pounding heart. • Hunger. • Dizziness or faintness. • Personality changes, confused thinking, impatience or crankiness. • Numbness of the lips and tongue. • Headache. • Blurred vision. • Slurred or slowed speech.
If not treated, low blood sugar can lead to fainting , seizures or death. Low blood sugar can happen quickly and be life threatening. People with diabetes experience different signs when their blood sugar is low. You should know how you feel when your blood sugar is low. If you have low blood sugar, immediately eat or drink something with fast acting sugar, such as: • ½ cup fruit juice. • ½ can of regular soda. • 4 glucose tablets. • 6 life savers.
If your symptoms do not disappear in 15 minutes or your blood sugar remains less than 80 mg/dL, take another dose of fast-acting sugar. Repeat every 10 -15 minutes until your blood sugar is higher than 80. If it is less than 30 minutes until your next meal, eat that meal. If it is more than 30 minutes, eat a snack, such as half a meat sandwich or three graham crackers. Eat the meal or snack after you have taken a dose of fast-acting sugar. Do not subtract the snack from your next meal. Do not drive or operate equipment if you think your blood sugar is low. Tell your friends and family that you have diabetes. If they ever find you unconscious or have trouble understanding you, they should take you to a health care facility or call an emergency medical service right away.
When you control your blood sugar levels, you will feel better and have more energy. You can successfully manage your diabetes with: • Diet plan. • Blood sugar testing. • Exercise. • Taking all prescribed medications. • Good hygiene. • Learning about diabetes.
Your diabetic care team will explain your specific diabetes control plan. By following your plan, you will have much less risk of diabetes complications. With a diabetes control plan, you can enjoy a healthier lifestyle while controlling diabetes