How Do You Know If Your Blood Sugar Is Low – Type 1 diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) autoimmune disease that stops your pancreas from making insulin. This requires daily management with insulin injections and blood sugar monitoring. Both children and adults can be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually start mild and get worse or worse, which can happen over days, weeks or months. If you or your child experiences these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible.
How Do You Know If Your Blood Sugar Is Low
Insulin is an important hormone that controls the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. Under normal circumstances, insulin works in the following steps.
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If you don’t have enough insulin, too much sugar builds up in your blood, causing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), and your body can’t use the food you eat for energy. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems or even death. People with type 1 diabetes need synthetic insulin daily to survive and stay healthy.
While type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are both forms of diabetes mellitus (as opposed to diabetes insipidus) that cause hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), they are different.
In type 2 diabetes (T2D), your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin and/or your body doesn’t always use that insulin as it should – usually because of insulin resistance. Lifestyle factors, such as obesity and lack of exercise, can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes and genetic factors.
Type 2 diabetes usually affects older adults, although it is becoming more common in children. Type 1 diabetes usually develops in children or young adults, but people of any age can develop it.
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Anyone can develop type 1 diabetes (T1D) at any age, although the most common age of diagnosis is between 4 to 6 years and early puberty (10 to 14 years).
In the United States, non-Hispanic whites are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes, and it affects birth-assigned females and birth-assigned males almost equally.
Although you do not have to have a family member with type 1 diabetes to develop the condition, having a family member (parent or sibling) with type 1 diabetes increases your risk.
Type 1 diabetes is relatively common. In the United States, approximately 1.24 million people are living with type 1 diabetes, and this number is expected to increase to 5 million by 2050.
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Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases affecting children in the United States, although adults can also be diagnosed with the disease.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually start mild and get worse or worse, which can happen over days, weeks or months. This is because your pancreas makes less and less insulin.
If you or your child have these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor and get tested for type 1 diabetes as soon as possible. The sooner you are diagnosed, the better.
If diagnosed late, untreated type 1 diabetes can be life-threatening due to a complication called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Get emergency medical care if you or your child has any combination of these symptoms:
Signs And Symptoms Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)
Type 1 diabetes develops when your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. This destruction can occur over months or years, eventually resulting in a complete lack (deficiency) of insulin.
Although scientists do not yet know the exact cause of type 1 diabetes, it is believed to have a strong genetic component. The risk of developing the disease without a family history is about 0.4%. If your biological mother has type 1 diabetes, your risk is 1% to 4%, and if your biological father has it, your risk is 3% to 8%. If both of your biological parents have type 1 diabetes, you have a 30% chance of developing the condition.
Scientists believe that certain factors, such as viruses or environmental toxins, can trigger your immune system to attack your pancreas cells if you have a genetic risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
Diagnosing type 1 diabetes is relatively easy. If you or your child has symptoms of type 1 diabetes, your health care provider will perform the following tests.
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Your provider may also order the following tests to evaluate your overall health and check for diabetes-related ketoacidosis, a serious complication of undiagnosed or untreated type 1 diabetes:
An endocrinologist — a health care provider who specializes in treating hormone-related conditions — treats people with type 1 diabetes. Some endocrinologists specialize in diabetes.
You will need to see your endocrinologist regularly to make sure your type 1 diabetes management is working well. Your insulin needs will change throughout your life.
People with type 1 diabetes need synthetic insulin several times a day to stay healthy. They also need to try to keep their blood sugar in a healthy range.
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There are several different types of synthetic insulin. They each start working at a different speed, and they last in your body for different lengths of time. You may need to use more than one type.
Some types of insulin are more expensive than others. Work with your endocrinologist to find the right type of insulin for your needs.
With a background insulin level (often called a basal rate), you’ll need to give yourself a certain amount of insulin when you eat and correct high blood sugar levels.
The amount of insulin you need each day will vary throughout your life and for certain conditions. For example, you usually need a higher dose of insulin during pregnancy, when you are pregnant and when you are taking steroid medications.
Chart Of Normal Blood Sugar Levels For Adults With Diabetes Age Wise
Because of this, it’s important to see your endocrinologist regularly — usually at least three times a year — to make sure your insulin doses and overall diabetes management are working for you.
People with type 1 diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar carefully throughout the day. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is the best way to avoid health complications. You can control your blood sugar in the following ways.
Your healthcare provider will tell you what your target glucose level should be. It depends on various factors, such as:
A big part of managing type 1 diabetes is counting the carbohydrates (carbohydrates) in foods and drinks to give yourself the right dose of insulin.
What To Do When Blood Sugar Readings Vary
Carbohydrates are a type of macronutrient found in certain foods and beverages, such as grains, sweets, beans, and milk. When your body digests foods and drinks that contain carbohydrates, it turns them into glucose, which is your body’s preferred form of energy. It raises your blood sugar levels.
Because of this, people with type 1 diabetes need to inject themselves with insulin when they eat carbohydrates.
At its most basic level, carbohydrate counting involves counting the number of grams of carbohydrates in a food (by reading the nutrition label) and matching that to your insulin dose.
You’ll use what’s called an insulin-to-carb ratio to calculate how much insulin you should take to control your blood sugar when you eat. The insulin to carb ratio varies from person to person and can also vary at different times of the day. Your endocrinologist will help you determine your insulin-to-carb ratio.
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The main side effect of treating diabetes with insulin is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Low blood sugar can occur if you take too much insulin based on your food intake and/or activity level. Hypoglycemia is generally considered to be less than 70 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter).
Symptoms of low blood sugar can start early, and people experience them in different ways. The symptoms of hypoglycemia are unpleasant, but they provide a good warning that you should take action before your blood sugar drops further.
If you have symptoms of hypoglycemia but can’t check your blood sugar, use the 15-15 rule until you feel better.
There is currently no cure for type 1 diabetes, but scientists are working on ways to prevent or slow the progression of the disease through studies like TrialNet.
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Scientists are also working on pancreatic islet transplant research – an experimental treatment for critically ill diabetics.
Pancreatic islets are clusters of pancreatic cells that make insulin. Your immune system attacks these cells in type 1 diabetes. A pancreatic islet transplant replaces the damaged islets that make and release insulin. This procedure involves taking islets from an organ donor’s pancreas and transplanting them to a person with type 1 diabetes. Because researchers are still studying pancreatic islet transplantation, the procedure is only available to those enrolled in the study.
Because type 1 diabetes can run in families, your health care provider may test your family members themselves for antibodies that cause the disease. Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, an international research network, also offers autoantibody testing for family members of people with type 1 diabetes.
Having autoantibodies even without symptoms of diabetes means you are more likely to have type 1 diabetes.
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