Type 1 diabetes is often called juvenile diabetes as it is more commonly discovered in children and young adults. This version of diabetes is a rare form of diabetes with only 10% of diabetics having it. In Type 1 the diabetic’s pancreas stops producing insulin, exact cause for why is still unknown. There are hypothesizes that it could be caused by viruses, genetics, or trauma. At this point the cause is unknown. Type 1 diabetes treatment requires the patient to replace the missing insulin via an injection of synthetic insulin, and closely monitoring their blood sugar glucose levels to make corrections accordingly and reduce the chance of diabetes complications. Other forms of diabetes may also be treated by insulin, however other forms of diabetes can be reversed via a lifestyle change. Type 1 cannot.
So why do you need insulin?
Insulin is a critical part of your body’s natural energy system. Insulin is distributed through the blood stream and attaches itself to the cells throughout your body and basically act as a converter of blood glucose to cell energy. Without it your body’s cells will starve for energy. Because of the way your body works this will trigger a lot of additional problems. Your body will think the problem is a lack of sugar in your system and release sugar from your liver, and begin breaking down the fat cells in your body to create sugar. A byproduct of this process are ketones. Ketones are acidic and start causing problems through out your body, damaging your veins and internal organs, along with all the excessive sugar flowing through out. A person without insulin in their body will end up in Ketoacidosis and require immediate medical attention to rebalance the system and avoid a potentially life threatening situation.
What’s on the horizon for Type 1 diabetes treatment?
There are some interesting new developments in the works at the time of this article. First there are some clinical trails going on testing implanting stem cells into type 1 diabetics still in the honeymoon stage (where the pancreas still produces some insulin but not enough) and see some success. There are some drug companies working on oral insulin trying to remove shots from the equation. Technology is also being used to create artificial pancreases that use a mix of blood sugar monitoring and a insulin pump to auto correct your sugars.