type 1 diabetes

so, i'm a registered dietician in the making. here's my first stab at educating the general public (or the 3 or 4 readers that i may gain from this whole thing...one of which is my mother) on diabetes.  i'll try to make this as simple and painless as possible for you.

this is a pancreas.

it's ok. you can admit it. it's a really REALLY hideous organ.

inside the pancreas are islet cells.  the role of these islet cells is to produce insulin.  insulin is secreted, in direct correlation with what we eat.  as our blood sugar rises, insulin is released.  the insulin acts as a "key" for the "locks" located on our cell surfaces. the insulin opens the lock and allows the glucose to enter into our cells (how kind of that insulin). our organs, specifically our brain, require glucose to function.

so how does diabetes fit into all of this?

type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. the body mistakenly destroys these islet cells and therefore the glucose cannot get into the cells.

the result? there is a buildup of glucose in the bloodstream. this is extremely dangerous!

healthy individuals maintain a continuous blood glucose of 90-100, regardless of what you eat. milkshakes? not a problem. a 2 liter coke? the body can handle it without many complications. would i recommend it? no. that's another issue.

before my diabetes was regulated, my post meal blood glucose easily reached 500+.   so what are some symptoms if you have no idea what your blood glucose is? so glad you asked!

  • increased thirst and frequent urination
  • extreme hunger
  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • blurred vision
treatment for type 1 diabetes: insulin injections. there's really no way around it right now.  every meal, every day.

so why is type 1 diabetes less known? only 5% of all diabetes cases are type 1<---gee, i feel special!

did you get all that? 

thanks for sticking with me (no pun intended....diabetes humor).

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