What is Type One Diabetes?

Type One Diabetes is an auto-immune condition. This means that the immune system attacks the pancreas, inhibiting the production of insulin. Insulin is needed to regulate blood sugars and acts as a key to the cells, so that they can open up and allow the sugar in to them to be used for all the bodily functions to work properly.

No one knows what causes Type One Diabetes and it can not be prevented. It is not caused by eating too much sugar or a bad diet. It just happens. Type One Diabetes normally strikes between the ages of 11 and 15 years of age, however it does affect young children and even adults, the disease leaves those affected insulin-dependent for life. Or they will die.

When Insulin is not there to allow the sugar into the cells then the sugar stays in the blood and builds up, this is what is known as "High Blood Sugar" when there is too much insulin then the body uses up all of the sugar in the blood and there is too little, this is what "Low Blood Sugar" is.

High Blood Sugar is above 8 mmol. High Blood Sugar causes long-term complications for Type One Diabetics. Such as, blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, nerve-damage, neuropathy and limb amputations. High Blood Sugar can also have imminent effects, one being thirst and feeling tired, the other being Diabetic Ketoacidosis. This is a potentially life-threatening condition that arises from high blood sugar and little or no insulin the body. The body cannot use the sugar in the blood for energy as there is no insulin to "unlock the cells" in turn, the body burns fat for energy resulting in the production of "Ketones" If this condition is left untreated, then the person will fall into a coma as the ketones rise, turning the blood acidic and effectively poising the body.

Every 8 seconds someone will die from Type One Diabetes, be it from long-term complications of the disease, or diabetic ketoacidosis. Many of these lives are young lives, many are old. This disease is relentless, and that is why I try and raise awareness as much as I can.

Low Blood Sugar is below 4 mmol. Low Blood Sugar has imminent effects, it makes you feel faint and weak, diabetics get sweaty palms and clammy, shake, feel confused and disorientated, but having blood sugars on the low side for a long time, also has a long-term effect which is known as 'Hypo unawareness' this is where the diabetic can not feel when their blood sugar is low- this can result in seizures and/or falling into a coma because the low blood sugar would not be treated quick enough. Sugar is needed to raise the blood sugar to ensure that the person does not pass out. If the person passes out they need to be injected with a glucose solution or have glucose administered into their mouth in gel form from a tube of 'glucogel'- the person would be at risk of falling into a coma if glucose is not given immediately. But it should only be injected or given in gel form, if given in form of a solid food the person could choke.

Perfect blood sugar is between 4 mmols and 8 mmols. This is fantastic for a diabetic and that is what the blood sugar of a non-diabetic is at. It is a balancing act to keep blood sugar at that point for a diabetic because so many factors come into play and can affect blood sugars for those with Type One Diabetes, so it is hard but we get there in the end.

Those with Type One Diabetes will have it for the rest of their lives as there is no cure. All are dependent on insulin injections three or more times a day or infusion of insulin via an insulin pump every single day, and diabetics need to prick their fingers 4 or more times a day too, just to stay alive.

A drawing I did on words associated with Type One Diabetes through my eyes. 

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