Living with Type 1 Diabetes
Posted on November 16 2011
According to the American Diabetes Association, 5-10% of the US population is living with Type 1 Diabetes. An individual challenged with diabetes must regularly monitor blood sugar levels and receive doses of insulin to maintain a delicate balance in order to survive. There is often confusion about the onset and treatment of this condition and its similar counterpart, Type 2.
Type 2 diabetes is an acquired condition that often develops as a response to eating habits, and is treatable. However, individuals living with Type 1 diabetes have a condition referred to as "juvenile-onset diabetes," an autoimmune condition that is not currently curable. Type 1 diabetes affects the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin which is necessary for moving sugar in the blood stream to cells for energy. The dosing of insulin through injections or pumps helps to regulate the body's natural functioning and prevents damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart.
Living with type 1 diabetes means remaining vigilant over the levels of sugar and insulin in the blood. Monitoring is typically performed with a blood glucose meter. A drop of blood is placed on a test strip, and the meter assesses the amount of glucose. If this level is too low, the individual must compensate by eating, if it is too high, insulin must be administered to counteract these levels. Blood glucose levels are defined as milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood where a range from 80-180mg/dL is considered acceptable.
With all this to consider and monitor, it is no surprise that living with Type 1 diabetes presents a unique challenge for those afflicted. For this reason, there are a variety of products available to help including glucose monitors, test strips, nutritional supplements, and even daily journals for tracking sugar levels, diet, and medication.