KYLE’S INTRO TO TYPE 1
PEOPLE LIVING WITH DIABETES MAKE OVER 180 HEALTH RELATED DECISIONS EVERY SINGLE DAY. THAT’S LIKE THINKING ABOUT DIABETES EVERY 5 MINUTES WHEN YOU ARE AWAKE. BE KIND TO YOURSELF. YOU ARE MANAGING A LOT ON TOP OF EVERYTHING ELSE.
WHAT IS TYPE 1 DIABETES?
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Without insulin, the body cannot use glucose from food for energy, leading to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and a state of starvation in the cells. Once a type 1 diabetes diagnosis is received, It is imperative that the condition is managed effectively through regular testing of blood glucose levels. Multiple daily injections of insulin are also required for survival and can be administered just beneath the surface of the skin using syringes, insulin pens or through an insulin pump. Glucose management is a balancing act which requires many calculations. Diabetes technology is an amazing tool that aids greatly with the number of decisions made and the multitude of factors that must be considered when managing glucose levels.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is another immediate complication of type 1 diabetes that can occur due to various factors, such as taking too much insulin, missing a meal, or engaging in increased physical activity. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include sweating, shakiness, confusion, irritability, and loss of consciousness.
It is important to be prepared for low blood sugars. Be sure to carry fast acting glucose. Here are some ideas for fast acting sugar to carry with you when your blood sugar drops low.
- Juice or soda
- Fruit candy like Skittles, Starburst and gummy bears
- Glucose/Dextrose tablets
Everyone is different so that means the amount of sugar needed to bring your blood sugar up and into a safer range might vary.
Hyperglycemia occurs when there’s an abnormally high level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. For people living with type 1 diabetes, this condition happens because there is not enough insulin in the body to regulate blood sugar levels. If you have type 1 diabetes, insulin is essential for survival. Extended periods of high blood glucose levels can cause a range of complications for people with type 1 diabetes, including:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
- Damage to blood vessels
- Kidney damage
- Eye damage
- Nerve damage
It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed at times. However, it’s important to know that by taking control of your health and working with your healthcare team, you can prevent the complications brought on by extended periods of hyperglycemia. A few tips we’d recommend are:
- monitoring blood glucose levels
- taking insulin as prescribed*
- getting regular exercise
- staying hydrated
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious and potentially life-threatening complication of type 1 diabetes. DKA occurs when the body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones, which can poison the body.
DKA typically develops when there is a severe lack of insulin, which causes the body to break down fat for energy, leading to a buildup of ketones in the blood. Periods of extended elevated blood sugar may be due to missed insulin doses, illness or infection, or a significant amount of stress.
KNOWING THE SYMPTOMS OF DKA SAVES LIVES
Symptoms of DKA may include
- Extended high blood sugar levels,
- excessive thirst
- frequent urination
- nausea and vomiting
- abdominal pain
- shortness of breath
- fruity-scented breath
DKA requires immediate medical attention, as it can lead to a coma or even death if left untreated.
Insulin pumps are small devices that deliver a continuous supply of insulin into the body, replacing the need for injections. The pump is worn outside the body and is connected to a small tube that is inserted under the skin. The pump can be programmed to deliver different amounts of insulin at different times of the day, which can help people with diabetes achieve more consistent blood glucose levels. Insulin pumps also allow for more flexibility in meal planning and physical activity, as insulin doses can be adjusted to match changing needs.
CONTINUOUS GLUCOSE MONITORS (CGMS)
CGMs are small sensors that are inserted under the skin and measure blood glucose levels continuously in real time throughout the day. The monitors are extremely useful tools that aid greatly with maintaining tighter control of fluctuating glucose levels. Fluctuations include impending hypoglycemic (low blood glucose) episodes, which can be life threatening if not treated immediately. The monitors also notify of hyperglycemic (high blood glucose) episodes, which can pose debilitating side effects over time if not properly managed. CGM devices send blood glucose readings to a receiver or smartphone app, allowing people with diabetes the ability to make informed decisions about insulin dosing, food, & physical activity.