Type 1 Diabetes: Recognition and Treatment

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

Unlike type 2 diabetes, a condition commonly found in older adults, type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in children. This is the reason why type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes. While in type 2 diabetes, the body is unable to use insulin properly, type 1 diabetes occurs when the insulin production is disrupted, resulting in high blood glucose levels.

How do I know whether I have type 1 diabetes?

The most obvious warning signs of type 1 diabetes include:

  • Urinating often;
  • Feeling very thirsty;
  • Getting frequent infections;
  • Losing weight quickly;
  • Feeling tired and weak.
In worse cases, if you have got type 1 diabetes for a long time without knowing, you may even notice symptoms of diabetic complications, which are:
  • Blurred vision or blindness;
  • Slow-healing skin sores;
  • Numbness in hands or feet;
  • Kidney failure.
This is when you should schedule a visit with your doctor as soon as possible.

May I be at risk of having type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is hereditary. You may be at risk if you have a family history of diabetes. However, there are other potential risk factors, such as:
  • Exposure to certain viruses, such as the Epstein-Barr virus, Coxsackie virus, mumps virus, and cytomegalovirus;
  • Early exposure to cow’s milk;
  • Vitamin D deficiency;
  • Drinking nitrates-containing water;
  • Early (before 4 months) or late (after 7 months) introduction of cereal and gluten into a baby’s diet;
  • Having a mother who had preeclampsia during pregnancy;
  • Being born with jaundice (yellowish colored of the skin).

What are common medical tests to diagnose type 1 diabetes?

For diagnosis, the doctor uses a medical history, physical examination, and different measures of blood sugar, including fasting and no fasting levels, average glucose levels during 2 to 3 months (hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c] test), and glucose tolerance test. Kidney and blood fat tests are sometimes required.
 

How do I manage my condition?

You will need a special diet to control blood sugar and a glucometer to check your blood sugar levels. Always watch out for signs of too low or too high blood sugar. Inject insulin a few times daily, depending on your doctor’s directions. You also need to have regular foot care and eye checkups to prevent complications.

Type 1 diabetes, as other types, cannot be cured. As terrifying as the idea of suffering the disease for the rest of your life may seem, diabetes is completely manageable. With proper medications and a healthy lifestyle, you can still lead a fulfilling life.
 
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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