When you are diagnosed with a chronic disorder, the next step is to find out everything you can about your disease and treat your condition medically, socially, and mentally. Fortunately, chronic diseases are treatable and manageable with care, love, and affection. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease requiring regular insulin doses (also called insulin-dependent diabetes).
With time, regular insulin intake becomes a chore that can sometimes irritate the person. While diabetes itself causes no harm if the routine is set strictly, it’s the continued doses, checkups, and attention to the food that leads to eventual exasperation of the person.
We must foremost understand what diabetes is and how to manage it daily with the help of close ones to maintain the condition for an easy life.
What is Type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition where the autoimmune system attacks the beta cells of the pancreas that are responsible for producing insulin on detecting food and glucose in the stomach and blood, respectively.
Insulin is the hormone that binds with the digested food molecules converted into glucose and helps the cell absorb it from the bloodstream. In the absence of insulin, the cells cannot absorb the glucose or carbohydrates from the bloodstream without the insulin binding the molecules, and much of the glucose keeps circulating. For example, cells are the locked doors, and insulin is the key to access the locked doors for the glucose to enter it.
The cells replace their energy source from carbohydrates and glucose to fats and proteins. On the breakdown of fats and proteins, the body produces ketones that can damage the kidneys over time.
The circulating blood sugar can cause long-term as well as short-term damage to the body if left untreated.
Following are the symptoms to recognize the early onset of type 1 diabetes: Excessive hunger, Excessive thirst, Sudden weight loss, Excessive urination, Fatigue, and DKA.
DKA: Diabetic ketoacidosis is the extreme condition of diabetes where the ketones are circulated in the body and is potentially life-threatening. As the cells don’t receive the continuous supply of glucose, they start breaking down fat tissues that produce ketones as a by-product. The high level of ketones in the blood increases the acidic property that may damage multiple organs.
- Medication: type1 diabetics have to manage their blood sugar levels and maintain them within 80mg/dl to 150mg/dl with the continuous use of insulin. With no beta cells to produce insulin, type1 diabetics require an external dosage of insulin to keep glucose absorption and metabolization on cellular level functioning.
The person with type1 diabetes requires three booster doses of fast working insulin for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and one dose of slow working insulin to manage the sugar spikes all day in between meals. Insulin intake must be in proportion of the food consumed with an approximation of carbohydrate and protein count in it.
There are various ways to direct the insulin in the bloodstream, as listed below:
- Insulin pump: The easiest method of guiding insulin is by insulin pump. It is a small digital meter to monitor insulin intake. A small cannula under the skin drips inulin from the pump as set by the small remote. The pump is stuck to the skin or inside the pocket. Continuous access to the pump and catheters might prove to be a cumbersome task. Stitches Medical offers a comfortable solution to this issue. They design clothes and apparel to help access and manage the medical administration of insulin in a discreet way.
Traditional insulin pumps are insulin vial machines attached to the body with a cannula that deposits insulin to the body when mechanically programmed to deliver a set amount of units.
The insulin patch pump allows the insulin vial and depository mechanics to be controlled wirelessly.
- Syringes and injections: insulin is measured out in a small syringe (disposable) with a diameter of 31 gauge and has the capacity of 40 units, 50 units, 100 units. With proper care and the right technique, this is the most cost-effective way of self-administering insulin. The insulin-sensitive areas like the stomach or thighs are sometimes inaccessible due to the clothes or public places. Be prepared to take help or use clothing apparels that allow you to self-administer the insulin doses.
- Insulin pens: easy to use, cost-intensive, and reusable, the insulin pens are the winner of the lot. You set the units of insulin you want, inject, press the button and count to ten: you are done. With ultra-fine needles of 32G, the person will hardly even feel the needle pierce.
- Insulin inhaler: it is mealtime insulin that can lower the blood glucose levels after meals. It delivers the dose of dissolved rapid-acting insulin or dry insulin through the nasal canal But is ineffective in lowering the HBA1C levels(overtime average of blood glucose levels). Also, a reminder to get a lung test for complete functional analysis of the lungs before using inhaler type insulin.
- Insulin jet injectors: type1 diabetics with needle phobia can resort to jet injectors that spray the insulin through the skin by high-pressure air current and not needle injection. It is a relatively new technology and is quite expensive, and requires frequent sterilization.
- Insulin implantable pump: The insulin pump is supposed to measure the blood glucose levels and correct it to the optimum, is the idea. Efforts are made to make the pump small, independent, discreet to enable it to implant it surgically under the skin for permanent functioning. The pump will mimic the function of pancreas of releasing insulin when the sugar level rises and stopping the insulin release when the blood sugar level reaches a required value.
The only aim is to maintain the level of blood sugar and avoid high and low spikes. With an insulin injection and aiding mechanisms, it is easy to guide the blood sugar and food intake. Life is a bit different on this side for type 1 diabetics but not impossible. With exercise, a controlled diet, and regular insulin doses, it is possible to stay on the top of your game with diabetes management.