Type 1 Diabetes is very common, yet you only ever hear about Type 2 Diabetes. No wonder all I ever hear from people is “Well maybe you shouldn’t have eaten all the sugar growing up”. So, here is the 411, the hot gossip, the cool information all about Type 1 Diabetes.
Type 1 Diabete or Diabete Mellitus is an auto-immune disease that can be caught at any age, but is mostly picked up in children around 7-12 years. The body sets up an attack on the beta cells in the pancreas and slowly kills them off. The result is no insulin being produced in the body to counteract the blood glucose levels.
I know what you are thinking, auto what? beta what cells? WTF are you talking about! Basically, my body has decided to attack it’s own cells in the pancreas. Now my pancreas doesn’t function properly and won’t produce insulin. Understand? Semi-ish? Don’t worry, me too! It has taken countless of hours googling to even try and understand why this happens and what it means and I still don’t really know.
So my pancreas doesn’t work the same, so what? Why do we need insulin? Great question, Sam! Whenever we eat carbohydrates or sugar our blood glucose levels will increase. This is where our pancreas will release insulin in our blood to bring those levels back down to normal. Yay pancreas doing its job!! Instead, my pancreas is that annoying group member in your group work. Turns up to the meetings, sits on Facebook and doesn’t actually do anything so you end up doing all of the work. This is what my insulin injections are for. I must act as my own pancreas and release insulin for it. (Pretty lazy huh?)
There are many different types of insulin but I personally take two different types. Lantus is a slow releasing insulin. This gives me little amounts of insulin throughout the day. It also means I need to inject this every night at 9pm NO MATTAR WHAT!! (I have forgotten plenty of times, whoops). The other insulin I inject is Nova Rapid. This is fast releasing and will only last 2 hours. I use Nova Rapid to counteract the carbohydrates and sugar that I eat, which ends up being every hour because I am constantly eating (fatty haha)! The needles are not very large (3mm), and do not hurt. They get injected into the fatty sections around the stomach.
High or low blood glucose levels can affect your body in a massive way. I’m sure you have all had the feeling after physical activity and you feel a bit faint, weak and dizzy. This is because your sugar levels have gone low. Your body is amazing and will work around the clock to maintain normal glucose levels, releasing more insulin to lower them, or alert you to eat some carbs to rise the levels.
This is where my glucose monitor comes in (The monitor acts as my pancreas also). A prick of the finger with a fine needle, and onto the test strip goes my blood. A normal range of bloody glucose is between 4-8mmoL. Anything lower than 4 and you have a hypoglycaemic reaction which can result in a coma. Anything higher then 8 and you have the opposite reaction, hyperglycaemia, which also can result in a coma if too high. This is why I check my glucose levels roughly every 2 hours, to check if my levels are too high or low so I need adjusting.
Unlike Type 2, there is still no cure for Type 1 Diabetes or an understanding of why it occurs in the body. Type 2 Diabetes is based on your diet and with a lowering of carbs and exercise will eventually go away. I am stuck with diabetes for the rest of my life.
Yes technically I can still eat sugar and carbs, there are just major complications with people who do not manage their diabetes including kidney failure, problems with your eyes and even limbs especially feet being cut off. It is a serious condition which affect so many people, even Nick Jonas has Type 1 Diabetes, but with the correct diet and management of glucose levels it doesn’t have to affect your lifestyle.
So next time someone mentions they have diabetes probably don’t mention it’s because they were given too many $1 mix bag of lollies as a child, you may punched in the face.