An autoimmune disease refers to a medical condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks a functioning body part. There is no substantial evidence explaining the development of an autoimmune illness; however, experts believe that it may be caused by environmental factors.

The main function of the immune system is to protect the body against diseases and infections. When it identifies foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria, it produces antibodies that defend the body against possible health dilemmas. In the occurrence of an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakenly strikes a body organ.

Type 1 diabetes is one of the many known autoimmune diseases. It develops when the body’s immune system erroneously recognizes the production of insulin as foreign and harmful. As a result, it ultimately impairs the beta cells, stopping insulin production. This causes the development of type 1 diabetes, as well as the abnormality in the body’s blood glucose condition.

Type 1 diabetes symptoms and signs

  • Frequent urination
  • High blood sugar
  • Excessive thirst
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Extreme appetite
  • Impaired vision
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Presence of Ketones
  • Confusion
  • Skin infections

Treatment

Similar to other forms of diabetes, type 1 also involves the usage of insulin treatment. Here are the approved insulin medications:

  • Intermediate-acting insulin
  • Short-acting insulin
  • Long-acting insulin
  • Rapid-acting insulin

These medicinal hormones are administered through injections, insulin pumps, and pre-filled pens. Your healthcare professional will also explain the basics of insulin treatment and how insulin shots are administered.

During the treatment process, blood sugar monitoring should be done frequently. Eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly is also a must. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight can prevent blood sugar levels from increasing. Always note that your daily goal is to balance and control your body’s levels of blood glucose. Doing the mentioned practices will keep you healthy and away from possible diabetes-related complications.

Doctor’s Recommendation

Recognizing the symptoms of diabetes is crucial. These symptoms include polydipsia (excessive thirst), polyuria (excessive urination), and polyphagia (excessive eating). It is important to note that symptoms can sometimes be subtle and not immediately obvious, which is why routine blood work is essential for detecting clinically silent cases of diabetes.

For individuals diagnosed with diabetes, it is recommended to receive referrals to various interdisciplinary specialists to ensure comprehensive care. These specialists may include an ophthalmologist, nephrologist, diabetologist, licensed medical dietitian, psychiatrist, psychotherapist (particularly important for pediatric patients to prevent intentional suicide during adolescence), cardiologist, endocrinologist, and neurologist. This list is not exhaustive, and other specialists may be necessary based on individual needs.

When scheduling an appointment with a primary care physician (PCP), patients should inform the secretary that they would like all A and B USPSTF (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) recommendations addressed based on their diagnosis. This proactive approach ensures the physician is prepared to provide the necessary care during the visit. Patients should also download the USPSTF application on their phone and educate themselves about their illness to ensure they receive the standard of care.

Strict adherence to dietary recommendations and regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is essential, even though it may seem burdensome. Diabetes is a costly condition for both taxpayers and insurance providers, and proper medical care can sometimes be limited by a lack of information. It is important for patients to understand the seriousness of diabetes and the lifelong commitment required to manage it effectively.