The following information is drawn from the American Diabetes Association
Web site (http://www.diabetes.org/).
What is diabetes?
Type I diabetes is a disease that affects the way the body uses food. In a
person with Type I diabetes, the body destroys the cells in the pancreas that
produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the level of sugar in
the blood. Type I diabetes is also called immune-mediated diabetes, and was
formerly known as insulin-dependent diabetes.
In Type II diabetes, once known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes, the pancreas
does not make enough insulin or the body cannot use it properly. We will not
discuss Type II diabetes any further.
Scientists do not know what causes Type I diabetes, but there appears to be
a genetic component to the cause. Other factors also are likely to increase
the risk for getting diabetes. Diabetes is not contagious.
Symptoms and diagnosis:
Signs and symptoms of diabetes are:
- high levels of sugar in the blood
- high levels of sugar in the urine
- frequent urination (and/or bed-wetting in children)
- extreme hunger
- extreme thirst
- extreme weight loss
- weakness and tiredness
- feeling edgy and having mood changes
- feeling sick to the stomach and vomiting
Treatment for Type I diabetes involves keeping the level of sugar in the blood
as close to normal (80-120 mg/dl) as possible. Treatment usually includes:
- Insulin injections to lower blood sugar. The number of injections required
depends on the individual and the type of insulin treatment used.
- A meal plan to control changes in blood sugar levels. Food raises blood
sugar levels. A dietician can help develop a plan that lets the diabetic
person eat the food he or she enjoys.
- Exercise to lower the blood sugar.
- Blood and urine testing to determine if the blood-sugar level is low,
normal, or high. The results enable the diabetic person to modify his or
her food intake, exercise, or insulin injections.
Long-term consequences of uncontrolled or poorly
- kidney disease
- nerve damage leading to abnormal sensations, including pain in the hands,
feet, and legs
- vascular (blood vessel) disease leading to heart disease and strokes
Long-term outlook for diabetes if treated and controlled:
People with Type I diabetes can live happy, healthy lives if they follow their