Diabetes Mellitus I
Diabetes Type 1, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to convert sugar (glucose) into energy. Although type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, it usually appears during childhood or adolescence. Basic difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes is that the type 2 diabetes a similar but more common illness then type 1 diabetes, and in type 2 diabetes the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or the body produces insulin but in less quantity than the quantity required for maintaining a normal blood sugar level.
Various factors are responsible for type 1 diabetes, out of which genetic factor and exposure to certain viruses are more prominent causes. Despite active research, type 1 diabetes has no cure. But advances in blood sugar monitoring and insulin delivery have made the management of type 1 diabetes easier. With proper treatment, people who have type 1 diabetes can expect to live long, healthy lives.
The common symptoms of type 1 diabetes are as follows:
- Increased thirst and frequent urination.
- Extreme hunger.
- Weight loss.
- Blurred vision.
Mechanism of type 1 diabetes:
Glucose is a main source of energy for the cells that make up our muscles and other tissues. There are two major sources of glucose. The food we eat and our liver. During digestion, sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. Normally, sugar then enters cells with the help of insulin. The hormone insulin comes from the pancreas, a gland located just behind the stomach. When we eat, our pancreas secretes insulin into our bloodstream. As insulin circulates, it acts like a key which opens doors for sugar which is circulating in bloodstream to enter cells of the body. Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. As the blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from the pancreas. Our liver acts as glucose storage and produces glucose. When our insulin levels are low and when we haven't eaten for a while, the liver releases the stored glucose to keep our glucose level within a normal range. This is the reason why we can stay without food for few hours.
In type 1 diabetes, our immune system which normally fights harmful bacteria or viruses â€" attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This leaves us with little or no insulin. Instead of being transported into our cells, sugar builds up in the bloodstream.
Prevention of type I diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes can't be prevented. Researchers are studying various options for prevention, however. For example, although oral insulin can't be used to lower blood sugar, researchers are testing whether an insulin capsule taken by mouth once a day can prevent or delay type 1 diabetes in people who have antibodies to insulin in their blood. In other studies, researchers are testing ways to slow the development of type 1 diabetes and preserve insulin production in people recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Tips for the management of type 1 diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is a serious disease. Following the diabetes treatment plan takes round-the-clock commitment. But in the end the efforts taken are worthwhile. Careful management of type 1 diabetes can reduce the risk of serious and even life-threatening complications.
- Make a commitment to managing your diabetes: Learn all you can about type 1 diabetes. Make healthy eating and physical activity part of your daily routine. Establish a relationship with a diabetes educator, and ask your diabetes treatment team for help when you need it.
- Identify yourself: Wear a tag or bracelet that says you have diabetes. Keep a glucagon kit nearby in case of a low blood sugar emergency â€" and make sure your friends and loved ones know how to use it.
- Schedule yearly physical and regular eye exams: Your regular diabetes checkups aren't meant to replace yearly physicals or routine eye exams. During the physical examination, your doctor will look for any diabetes-related complications, as well as screen for other medical problems. Your eye care specialist will check for signs of retinal damage, cataracts and glaucoma.
- Keep your immunizations up-to-date: High blood sugar can weaken your immune system. Get a flu shot every year, and get a tetanus booster shot every 10 years. Your doctor may recommend the pneumonia vaccine or other immunizations as well.
- Take care of your teeth: Diabetes may leave you prone to gum infections. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss your teeth once a day, and schedule dental exams at least twice a year. Consult your dentist right away if your gums bleed or look red or swollen.
- Pay attention to your feet: Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water. Dry them gently, especially between the toes, and moisturize with lotion. Check your feet every day for blisters, cuts, sores, redness or swelling. Consult your doctor if you have a sore or other foot problem that doesn't start to heal within a few days.
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control: Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly can go a long way toward controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol. Medication may be needed, too.
- If you smoke or use other types of tobacco, ask your doctor to help you quit: Smoking increases your risk of various diabetes complications, including heart attack, stroke, nerve damage and kidney disease. In fact, smokers who have diabetes are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than are nonsmokers who have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Talk to your doctor about ways to stop smoking or to stop using other types of tobacco.
- If you drink alcohol, do so responsibly: Alcohol can cause either high or low blood sugar, depending on how much you drink and if you eat at the same time. If you choose to drink, do so only in moderation and always with a meal. Remember to include the calories from any alcohol you drink in your daily calorie count.
- Take stress seriously: If you're stressed, it's easy to abandon your usual diabetes management routine. The hormones your body may produce in response to prolonged stress may prevent insulin from working properly, which only makes matters worse. To take control, set limits. Prioritize your tasks. Learn relaxation techniques. Get plenty of sleep.
Above all, stay positive. The good habits you adopt today can help you enjoy an active, healthy life with type 1 diabetes.
Role of Homeopathy in Type 1 diabetes:
Role of Homeopathy in the management of type 1 diabetes is more preventive than curative. Homeopathy can elevate bodyâ€™s defense mechanism which can reduce personâ€™s susceptibility to opportunistic illnesses and infections which usually is the case with people whose blood sugar levels are always above normal. Constitutional homeopathic treatment can enhance the diabetes control when used with conventional diabetes treatment of insulin injection and other oral hypoglycemic drugs. Homeopathy thus may help in reducing the required dose of insulin or oral hypoglycemic drugs. Homeopathy helps in improving general condition and achieving better emotional balance in patients suffering from type 1 diabetes. Homeopathy therefore helps in better adaptation to the illness as well as improves quality of life. Type 1 diabetes is not a curable illness but achieving a good control over the levels of blood sugar, ability to restrict the secondary complication to minimum and achieving good emotional balance can be considered as significant achievement in itself. Homeopathy has a very vital role to play in achieving these goals when it is used as complementary treatment along with conventional treatment for type 1 diabetes. Need for diabetic diet and regular exercise can not be ruled out at any point of time for each and every case of type 1 diabetes with whatever treatment modality used.