ABC Medical Center > Type 1 diabetes

What is Type 1 diabetes?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


It is a chronic disease, where the pancreas has deficiencies or is unable to generate insulin, which is responsible for controlling glucose so that it is integrated at the cellular level for energy production.

The origin of this incurable but controllable condition is unknown. However, it has been identified that the immune system, which defends the body from infections and foreign agents, mistakenly attacks and eliminates the islets of Langerhans, which are the pancreatic cells that produce insulin.

Similarly, genetic predisposition, some viral infections, and environmental issues have been identified as possible causes.

When suffering from type 1 diabetes, the blood is filled with sugar by not having enough insulin to allow it to enter the cells, causing various health problems that can be fatal if not treated promptly and efficiently.

Normally, this disease appears in children and adolescents, although it is also possible to appear in adults.

A cure has not yet been found, so the treatment seeks to control the blood sugar level through insulin, combined with a healthy diet and an active lifestyle, factors that can prevent complications.

If proper treatment is not followed, type 1 diabetes seriously damages the body, causing complications that affect the patient’s quality of life and can be fatal:

  • Cardiovascular diseases: stroke, atherosclerosis, heart attack, and high blood pressure, among others.
  • Kidney failure: by irreversibly damaging the kidneys, the patient develops kidney failure, whose only treatment is regular dialysis or kidney transplant.
  • Eye involvement: glaucoma, cataracts, and blindness.
    Damage to the lower limbs: when the feet’ nerves and circulation are affected, recurrent infections appear that usually end in amputation.
  • Neuropathy: by affecting blood circulation, the thin veins are damaged causing a lack of irrigation in the limbs’ nerves causing numbness and lack of sensitivity.
  • Problems for mother and baby during pregnancy: spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, and birth defects. The mother may develop retinitis, hypertension, preeclampsia, and diabetic ketoacidosis.

Signs and symptoms Type 1 diabetes

Symptoms sometimes take time to appear clearly, but they also usually appear suddenly, including the following:

  • Intense hunger.
  • Weight loss.
  • Sudden mood swings.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Tiredness and lack of energy.
  • Visual problems.

Diagnosis and treatment Type 1 diabetes

In addition to analyzing the symptoms and clinical history, your doctor will request a glycosylated hemoglobin test, which indicates your blood sugar level in three months, among other tests. If your measurement exceeds 6.5%, the diagnosis is confirmed.

The treatment to follow includes:

  • Insulin.
  • Frequent measurement and control of glucose level. 
  • Have a healthy diet.
  • Carbs, fat, and proteins monitoring.
  • Avoid obesity.
  • Exercise daily.

The purpose of treatment is to stop the disease progression by keeping the blood sugar level within normal parameters for as long as possible, thus avoiding serious complications.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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