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What is diabetes type 1: symptoms, treatment, tests and complications?


He Type 1 diabetes mellitusLike Type 2, it is characterized by an excess of glucose in the blood, which triggers a series of complications in the body. But in this case, the disease usually arises in childhood and adolescence, has symptoms such as urination and weight loss and has an autoimmune origin. That is, the body's own defense units begin to destroy pancreas, which is responsible for the production of insulin. Therefore, treatment always involves the replacement of the hormone.

Insulin has the function of opening the doors of cells into the glucose, which will be converted into energy. The process keeps us alive. The consequence of diabetes type 1 is the permanent accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream, which causes a lot of damage.

Among the complications, the following stand out:

  • Lesions and plaques in the blood vessels that compromise the oxygenation of the organs and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Diabetes Retinopathy (damage to the retina, the tissue in the lower part of the blind that leads to blindness)
  • Kidney failure
  • Peripheral Neuropathy (Nerve involvement, which compromises sensitivity)
  • Due to skin injuries that are not visible and can progress to the gangrene

Diabetes type 1 is less frequent than type 2. It is estimated that approximately 10% of all cases of the disease correspond to the version of the problem.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes

  • Be constant
  • Dry mouth
  • Ready to urinate all the time.
  • Weight loss
  • Tingling in legs and feet
  • Wounds that take a long time to heal.
  • Nail fungus

Risk factors

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Family cases
  • Childhood infections


While there is a disease caused by genetic factors and whose triggers are still not fully known to science (for example, the influence of children's infections is speculated), there are no preventative measures to prevent type 1 diabetes.

What can be ruled out are the complications of the disease. It requires follow-up and medical treatment, as well as a healthy lifestyle.

The diagnosis

The specialist is requesting a blood test that measures blood glucose, blood sugar level. The test was done on an empty stomach. If the result is equal to or higher than 126 mg / dl twice a row, the person is considered diabetes.

Explaining doubts, the specialist can order the oral glucose tolerance test, also known as glycemic curve. It is similar to the previous one, but two hours before the blood sample is taken, the patient drinks a glass of water with a sugary solution.

Then, every thirty minutes, the method is remodeled, always with intervals between intervals. This is to see how the body behaves with additional doses of sugar.

If the analysis indicates 200 mg / dl, the disease has been proven.

It is also a method known as glycated hemoglobin, which calculates the concentration of sugar in the vessels over the past three months.


This all begins with a strict control of dietary sugar levels and diabetes recommendation to maintain a healthy lifestyle, with an exercise included.

Smokers are encouraged to give up addiction, widening the damage to the arteries. Alcoholic beverages should be ingested in moderation, as they change glucose levels and even lead to episodes of hypoglycaemia, which we will explain later.

In this diet, a great deal is to prioritize whole foods with a high fiber content over those with simple carbohydrates (bread and white pasta, for example). They help to reduce the rate at which glucose is released into the blood.

Ideally, eat five or six meals a day and do not eat for a long time. The care of a nutritionist helps to avoid misconceptions.

Warning: candy is not prohibited, but it is worth moderation and strict control of blood glucose after eating. By the way, replacing sugar in recipes with sweeteners helps.

Only be careful when buying dietary foods. You must ensure that the nutrient of these products is really sugar (not fat).

The medical follow-up and laboratory tests will show if the correct options in the time of food, exercise and treatment indicated by the specialist may contain the disease or if there are any complications in the sight.

Injectable insulin

People with type 1 diabetes need daily doses of insulin. The doctor will tell you how to store and transport the medicine (it should be kept between 2 and 8 ° C) and what precautions you should take when applying. The consultants serve to adjust doses and establish a scheme for the combined use of different types of insulin.

Yes, there are versions of this hormone with fast, ultra fast, intermediate or basal action. Each has its advantages and limitations.

How to measure daily blood glucose.

Measuring glucose concentration is also part of the routine of a patient with diabetes type 1. This may be controlled by a device called a glucose meter. A hole in the finger, a drop of blood on a tape and, five seconds later, the result is shown on the screen.

You give the amount of insulin to inject or the amount of carbohydrates you can absorb at any given time. This avoids both glycemic peaks and hypoglycemia.

The frequency of use of this device depends on the degree of diabetes stability. Controls usually occur before and after meals and before bedtime.

The recommended limits are: under 110mg / dl on an empty stomach and 140mg / dl two hours after meals, with a tolerance of up to 180mg / dl. However, it is essential to discuss your case with a doctor.

In recent years, devices have also emerged that can measure blood without bites. For example: put a small device on your arm and clean a device or even your mobile phone in front of it. Ready now you can see your blood glucose.

Long term follow.

To see if treatment is underway, a test is repeated every three months: glycosylated hemoglobin, showing variation in blood glucose during this period.

It is also recommended to perform an eye exam each year to detect possible problems with retina before they cause serious vision damage. The kidneys are another point of attention: it is worth checking out every year if they do this with a 24-hour urine test.

Also find out how much cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure: altered levels, along with type 1 diabetes, are especially harmful to cardiovascular health. And regularly examine your feet for injuries. If they are not healthy, they can become gangrene and even amputations, which are called diabetic feet.


Even if they live with a disease characterized by high blood glucose levels, the disease should be aware of another phenomenon typical of their condition: hypoglycaemia, a sudden decrease in rates. This usually happens when the disease is not controlled.

The picture is marked by tremors, cold sweat and a feeling of weakness. Excessive sweating, palpitations, nausea, speech disorders, blurred vision and even fainting are symptoms of worsening.

At this time, a rubber candy, a honey paste, an orange juice or even a glass of water with two tablespoons of sugar helps restore balance to the body. If the situation loses control, it is advisable to seek hospital or medical advice.

Do you want a brief video explanation of type 1 diabetes? We also have:

Sources: Brazilian Diabetes Society, American Diabetes Association.

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