What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is one of the most common diseases in the United States, and almost 23.6 million people (8% of the population) have diabetes. In the last couple of years, there has been a rapid increase in the prevalence of diabetes. It is, therefore, important to understand the disease in a better way and stay away from the myths that are associated with it.
Diabetes is a problem of blood glucose or blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. The former is called juvenile diabetes, or insulin-dependent diabetes, in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys certain pancreatic cells (beta cells), which are located within small islands of endocrine cells (pancreatic islets). The main function of Beta cells is to produce insulin – a hormone that maintains the level of glucose in the blood; however, when the Beta cells are destroyed, no insulin is produced, and the excess glucose is retained in the blood and seriously damages the body’s organ system.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
Following are the symptoms of type 1 diabetes:
- Intense thirst
- Frequent urination
- Drowsiness or lethargy
- Sugar in urine
- Sudden vision changes
- Sudden weight loss
- Increased appetite
Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age and can be diagnosed in children, teenagers, and young adults. Though scientists are still clueless about what causes Type1 diabetes, they are certain that factors such as autoimmunity, genetics, and environmental stimuli are involved.
Myths About Type 1 Diabetes
Many people have misconceptions and misunderstandings about Type 1 diabetes. It is, therefore, important to present them with the correct knowledge and make them aware of the facts associated with this disease. Following are some diabetes myths and misconceptions, plus facts behind the myths.
The most common myth is that insulin intake can cure diabetes. The fact is that it only helps people with Type 1 diabetes live. Though research is being done to find a cure for the disease, as of now, there is no permanent cure.
The second myth about diabetes is that obesity and eating too much sugar can cause diabetes. Obesity may trigger Type 2 diabetes, but scientists are still unclear about the cause of Type 1 diabetes. Eating too much sugar has no relation to this type of diabetes.
There are other myths such as people with diabetes should never eat sweet products, only kids are vulnerable to type 1 diabetes, people with diabetes cannot take part in athletics, etc. These are sere misconceptions that people are still bearing in their mind. Medical counseling is a must for people with diabetes – one should have the correct knowledge of this disease then only, one can fight it intelligently.
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JDRF. “Ask a Medical Professional: Diabetes Myths and Misconceptions," retrieved on March 3, 2009 from diabetes myths and misconceptions.