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Type 1 Diabetes: An Autoimmune Disease

Dr. Dayanand Suryavamshi

Dr. Dayanand Suryavamshi

  C v raman nagar, Bengaluru     Nov 2, 2017

   7 min     



Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong or chronic disease caused by a huge level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. It can happen at any stage. It is most frequently diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults. In people who have type 1 diabetes, cells in the pancreas that create insulin are impaired, and the body is incapable of producing insulin.

Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas by specific cells called betaThe pancreas is located below and behind the abdomen that supports your body’s cells utilise glucose for energy. 

Your body obtains glucose from the food you consume. Insulin is required to push blood sugar (glucose) into cells. It lets the glucose move from your blood into your body’s cells.

When the cells are sufficient, your liver and muscle tissues save the extra glucose, also known as blood sugar, in the form of glycogen. It is broken down into blood sugar and delivered when you need energy between meals, at the time of exercise, or while you go for sleep.

In type 1 diabetes, the body is incapable of processing glucose due to the deficiency of insulin. Glucose from your food can’t get its way into the cells. This leaves excessively glucose flowing in your blood. High blood sugar levels can begin to both short-term and long-term complications.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

If a person is suffering from Type 1 diabetes, he may experience High Blood Sugar. The following are symptoms of type 1 diabetes:

  • fatigue
  • excessive hunger
  • excessive thirst
  • frequent urination
  • the feeling of tiredness all the time
  • blurred vision
  • dramatic weight loss in a short time
  • dry skin and mouth
  • numbness in feet
  • fruity breath odour
  • nausea or vomiting
  • flushed face 
  • stomach pain

If a person is suffering from Type 1 diabetes, he may experience Low Blood Sugar. Symptoms usually develop when a person’s blood sugar level drops below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Symptoms of this ailment include:

  • headache
  • hunger
  • rapid breathing
  • nervousness
  • shaking
  • sweating

A person might also acquire ketoacidosis, a complexity of diabetes. If you undergo one or more type 1 diabetes symptoms, you should consult your doctor. But if you have signs of ketoacidosis, you should get medical assistance right away as ketoacidosis is a medical emergency.

Causes of type 1 diabetes

The definite cause of type 1 diabetes is unexplained. But, it’s considered to be an autoimmune disease. The immune system of the body unnaturally attacks beta cells in the pancreas. These are the cells that produce insulin. Scientists don’t completely understand why this occurs.

Genetic and environmental factors, such as viruses, may play a role.

Diagnosis of type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed through a range of tests. Some can be performed quickly, while others need hours of preparation or monitoring.

Type 1 diabetes usually emerges instantly. People are diagnosed if they coincide one of the below criteria:

  • haemoglobin A1c > 6.5 on two separate tests
  • fasting blood sugar > 126 mg/dL on two separate tests
  • random blood sugar > 200 mg/dL, accompanied by signs of diabetes

These criteria are also applied to diagnose type 2 diabetes. In fact, people who suffer from type 1 diabetes are sometimes misdiagnosed as having type 2 diabetes.

A doctor may not recognise you’ve been misdiagnosed until you come up with developing complications or inflaming symptoms despite treatment.

When blood sugar goes so high that diabetic ketoacidosis occurs, you become seriously sick. This is usually the reason people end up in the hospital or their physician’s office, and then type 1 diabetes is diagnosed.

If you have any of the signs of diabetes, your doctor will possibly direct tests.

Treatment for Type 1 diabetes

If you undergo a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, your body can’t make its insulin. You’ll require to obtain insulin to assist your body to utilise the sugar in your blood. Other treatments may also endure some promise for managing symptoms of type 1 diabetes. 


Everyone, whoever has type 1 diabetes must receive insulin every day.

Insulin must be injected beneath the skin using a syringe, insulin pump, or insulin pen. The pump infuses insulin via a port in the skin. It can be more comfortable for a few people than pricking themselves with a needle.

Insulin cannot be exercised by mouth because the acid in the stomach damages the insulin.

The quantity of insulin you need fluctuates throughout the day. You may require insulin shots 1 to 4 times a day. People who have type 1 diabetes routinely test their blood sugar to estimate how much insulin they need. Both diet and exercise can influence blood sugar levels. 

Different insulin types exist. Your physician may have you try more than one to discover what works best for you. You can monitor your blood sugar glucose by utilising a glucose meter. You pierce your finger with a small needle called a lancet to obtain a small drop of blood. You put the blood on a test strip and place the strip into the meter. The meter provides you with a reading that shows you the level of your blood sugar.


Metformin is a kind of oral diabetes medication. For several years, it was only practised in people who have type 2 diabetes. However, a few people with type 1 diabetes can exhibit insulin resistance. That means the insulin they obtain from injections doesn’t work as great as it should.

Metformin helps in lowering sugar in the blood by decreasing sugar production in the liver. Your physician may recommend you to take Metformin along with insulin.


The tuberculosis vaccine may keep consent as a treatment for people with type 1 diabetes. Minimal research discovered that people with type 1 who took two injections of the bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine observed their blood sugar levels steady for at least five years.

This alternative isn’t on the market yet. It’s still undergoing experimentation and doesn’t have sanction from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Still, it holds promise for later type 1 diabetes treatment.

Other medications

A new oral medicine may be on the border for people with type 1 diabetes. Sotagliflozin (Zynquista) is expecting FDA approval. If it receives the green light, this drug will be the first oral medication invented to be used alongside insulin in people who have type 1 diabetes.

This medicine serves to reduce glucose levels in the blood by pushing the body to discharge it in urine and by decreasing glucose absorption in the gut. Related medicines are already available for people with type 2 diabetes, but none are permitted for people with type 1.

Diet and exercise

People who have type 1 diabetes should consume regular meals and snacks to maintain blood sugar as stable. A dietitian who is also a certified diabetes instructor can cooperate in setting an eating plan.

Exercise also supports in lowering blood sugar levels. Insulin amounts may require to be arranged according to your level of exercise.

Foot Care

Diabetes damages the nerves, so people with diabetes are more likely to have foot problems. Diabetes can also affect blood vessels. Small injuries or breaks in the skin may grow deeper skin sores (ulcers). To avert problems with your feet:

Stop smoking, use a moisturising lotion on dry skin.

Preventing Complications

With type 1 diabetes, you are also at risk of exhibiting conditions such as hearing loss, gum disease, or yeast infections (in women), eye disease, kidney disease and heart disease and stroke.

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Tags:  Diabetics,blood sugar, glucose level, glucose meter, weight loss, treatment of type 1 diabetes

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