Effects of Type 1 Diabetes

Insulin is vital to storing excess glucose that you have in your blood following a meal. In a person who not diabetic, insulin is released from the β cells of the pancreas in response to high concentrations of glucose within the blood. This prevents them from becoming hypoglycaemic, and allows their body to store glucose for use as energy when they are fasting, i.e. between meals. If you suffer from type 1 diabetes, you are unable to produce insulin as your immune system has destroyed the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. Without any insulin after eating you would become hyperglycaemic which can lead to coma and death. Thankfully treatment with synthetic insulin is available to prevent this.

Until recently, if you had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before the age of 20, there was approximately a 60% chance that you would survive past 50 years old. Thankfully the number of people surviving past 50 is now rising, due to better treatment and information. Unfortunately, having both type 1 and type 2 diabetes predisposes you to a number of very serious complications that must be monitored regularly. The main complications are:

  • Macrovascular – complications in large blood vessels e.g Stroke and Heart Disease
  • Microvascular – complications in small blood vessels e.g. Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Diabetic Maculopathy – Damage to the macula (part of the eye)
  • Diabetic Nephropathy – kidney problems
  • Diabetic Neuropathy – nerve problems
  • Skin Problems
  • Infection Problems
  • Diabetic Foot
  • Mouth Problems
  • Genito-urinary problems

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