Diabetes is a condition brought on by having too much glucose (sugar) in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. Glucose in the body is converted into energy and comes from such starchy foods as potatoes, bread, and pasta as well as sweet foods such as cakes and sweets. In addition to what we eat, the liver also produces glucose.
The main symptoms of untreated diabetes include extreme tiredness, weight loss, frequent trips to the bathroom, increased thirst, blurred vision and regular outbreaks of thrush.
Type 1 diabetes develops because the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. It is not known what causes these cells to become damaged; it may be as a result of some type of infection. Type 1 diabetes affects mainly younger people with both sexes being equally affected. It tends to develop quickly and the symptoms are generally obvious.
Sufferers of type 1 will need insulin injections for the rest of their lives. The digestive juices in the stomach destroy insulin, which is why it cannot be taken by mouth. Sufferers often have to have several injections of insulin a day.
A doctor or diabetic nurse will explain how to administer the injections required. They will also be able to give advice on how to do a simple blood or urine test at home to monitor glucose levels. Diet and insulin levels can then be adjusted as necessary.
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