Type 1 Diabetes mellitus - overview

Type 1 diabetes is also known as diabetes mellitus. This disease affects not only one body system, and has serious aftermath in biological, chemical and structural functions of the human body. It is an endocrine disorder characterized by metabolic abnormalities, especially of carbohydrate metabolism.
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas secretes insufficient amounts of insulin or when the way the body uses insulin is deficient. Insulin is the hormone that provides cellular energy needs by using sugar (glucose). If the secretion of insulin is deficient or if there is resistance to its action in target tissues, blood sugar (glucose) is too high and tissues cannot use glucose for energy production. If the sugar in blood is persistently at a high level, complications arise at the eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves and kidneys. If you reach very high blood sugar level, a metabolic imbalance occurs that characterizes severe diabetic ketoacidosis (CAD).


Type 1 diabetes occurs at any age, but prevalent in children and young adults, so it is called juvenile diabetes by some authors. Also, an often used synonym for type 1 diabetes is insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. A form of type 1 diabetes is the latent autoimmune diabetes in adults which had an early onset, often confused with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5% -10% of all diabetes cases. The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes mellitus (insulin-independent diabetes), other forms of diabetes include gestational diabetes and secondary diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes occurs as a result of autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells that secrete insulin.

Heredity plays an important role in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes mellitus. However, many patients with type 1 diabetes have no family history of insulin-dependent diabetes. Therefore, experts believe that an important role in the etiology of diabetes they have, in addition to genetic predisposition are certain environmental factors. One of the environmental factors involved in producing diabetes, is usually an infectious agent such as virus coxackie b. The relationship between the onset of diabetes and vaccination against haemophilus influenza type b.



Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes occurs rapidly, within days or weeks and are caused by elevated blood glucose level. Early symptoms may go ignored by the patient, especially if the person had a flu recently. These early symptoms are:

-Frequent urination, especially overnight. Some young children who have learned to use the toilet have enuresis (urinating in bed at night)

-Extreme thirst and dry mouth


-Increased appetite.

Sometimes blood sugar levels can reach very high values without the person to notice that he suffers from something. Because insulin is nonexistent, cells cannot use glucose for energy production. If the patient is burning much fat and protein at a high rate, an excess of ketones is produced that eventualy comes into the bloodstream. It produces one of the most severe complications of type 1 diabetes mellitus: diabetic ketoacidosis (CAD) whose symptoms are:

-Dry, red, hot skin

-Loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting

-Characteristic odor of acetone on the breath

-Rapid, deep breathing,

-Agitation, drowsiness, confusion, coma. Young children lose interest in daily activities.

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