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Type I Diabetes

  • Type I Diabetes accounts for 10% to 15% of all diabetes cases in Antigua and Barbuda
  • Formerly known as juvenile-onset diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, in Type I Diabetes, it is characterized by the body being unable to produce enough insulin to lower the blood sugar
  • This is known as insulin deficiency
  • Type I Diabetes results from the destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas. This is important to remember because:
    • The beta cells produce insulin
    • The destruction of these cells means the body no longer produces its own insulin supply
  • Although the cause is not fully understood, many researchers believe that the beta cell destruction is an autoimmune process driven by genetic and environmental factors. The most common description is genetically susceptible individuals are exposed to an environmental agent which triggers an autoimmune response.
    • Autoimmune- this means the body’s own immune system is activated to attack and destroys the beta cells.
  • Environmental agents- examples include viruses, bacteria, and chemicals/compounds. Researchers are not entirely sure how environmental agents can trigger autoimmune responses
    • The typical stages of Type I Diabetes are as follows
  • 70% of Type I Diabetes cases are diagnosed in individuals under the age of 20; most cases are diagnosed between infancy and puberty
  • The signs of Type 1 Diabetes include:
    • Frequent Urination
    • Urination at night
    • Excessive thirst
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Weakness and Fatigue
    • Blurred vision
    • Fruity odor on the breath

Management and Treatment

Unlike Type 2 Diabetes, there is only one treatment option for Type I Diabetes: Insulin

The goal of insulin therapy in Type I Diabetes is to replace the insulin that has been lost

    • See section on Insulin for more details
    • Lifestyle management is important for individuals with Type 1 Diabetes (see lifestyle modifications and diabetes section)
      • Exercise and physical activity improve blood sugar control
      • Dietary management is integral to controlling your diabetes. Meal planning with your healthcare team can help you control your diabetes and lead a healthy lifestyle.
        • Dietitians can help you create an individualized meal plan (managing calorie intake and maximizing blood sugar control)

Other considerations

  • As with Type 2 Diabetes, those with Type I Diabetes must maintain good control of their sugars to prevent the complications of diabetes. These include:
  • Although researchers are not clear on the mechanisms, those with Type I Diabetes may be higher risk for Addison’s disease, Grave’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, vitiligo, and some forms of anemia

Excellent Resources:

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