Type I Diabetes
Type-I diabetes is the most severe form of diabetes. It is also known as Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), juvenile diabetes and Childhood-onset diabetes. People with type-I diabetes generally depend on injections of insulin to regulate their sugar metabolism.
In the past, type I diabetes was called juvenile diabetes because doctors thought that it would strike only children or young adults. Doctors now know that people of any age can develop type I diabetes, although the majority of cases are discovered in people under 20 years of age.
Type I diabetes is due to a deficiency or failure of the pancreas to secrete insulin. It occurs when the pancreas fails to produce adequate insulin, the hormone used by the body to make blood sugar (glucose) available to cells.
People with type I diabetes are vulnerable to dangerous short-term complications of the disease. Two of these complications have to do with disruptive swings in blood-sugar levels, such as hyperglycemia (too much blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (too little blood sugar). People with type-I diabetes also are at particular risk of ketoacidosis-a dangerous buildup of toxic acids in the body.
Causes of Type I Diabetes
Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease. Many experts believe that it is genetically programmed. In case of an autoimmune disease the body's immune system attacks itself.
Inside the pancreas are approximately 100,000 cell clusters known as the islets. Each of these islets may contain 1,000 to 2,000 beta cells. When blood- glucose levels rise, the beta cells manufacture insulin and release it into the bloodstream. In people with type-I diabetes, the beta cells are attacked by the immune system and are slowly destroyed. Eventually production of insulin comes to a halt because no beta cells remain.
Scientists are not quite sure what causes the body's immune system to sabotage pancreatic cells. They have, however, noticed that there is a genetic connection to this disorder. It is also suggested that a trigger, such as a virus, must be present to start the destruction of the beta cells.
The destruction of the beta cells may go undetected for several years (as long as four to seven years). Many people will start noticing the symptoms only after 80 to 90 percent of the beta cells are destroyed. At that point, sudden and dramatic symptoms appear. The disease is quickly detected and diagnosed at that point.
Symptoms of Type I Diabetes
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