Type 1 Diabetes: Recognition and Treatment


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.

Want to live your best life?
Get the Hello Doktor Daily newsletter for health tips, wellness updates and more.
You might also like