The Hard Truths of Diabetes Type 1 You Should Know


Ask anyone living with diabetes type 1 what they have to go through daily to manage the disease. You will be surprised by what you find out in the timetable and the schedules in the life of diabetes type 1 patient.

Even though the strict processes of managing the disease can be overwhelming and stressful, it has positive results. You can live a long healthy life. You can do anything and go anywhere.

The procedures for managing diabetes type 1 include:

  • Regular monitoring blood sugar
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Regular exercises
  • Proper insulin administration

Your body uses insulin hormone to absorb glucose (sugar). The glucose then enters into the cells to provide them with energy and to store the excess. Your pancreas is the organ that has insulin-producing cells called beta cells.

Some factors, such as hormonal changes, autoimmune effects, viruses, genetics, can interfere with insulin production leading to type 1 diabetes. The condition causes sugar in the blood beyond the required average level.

The average adult blood sugar level should be 5 to 8.3 mmol/L or 90 to 150 mg/dL when you test at 8 hrs before a meal (while fasting). The standard children (between 6 and 12 years old) blood sugar level should be 5.5 to 10.0 mmol/L or 100 to 180 mg/dL.

When the readings get far beyond that consistently, it means that your insulin production is not average. You should seek medical services immediately to ascertain the reason for such blood sugar spikes. High blood sugar means that you have low insulin production and glucose-starved body cells.

What is Diabetes Type 1?

Diabetes Type 1 is a chronic disease that goes hand-in-hand with insufficient insulin hormone in the body. The immune system can have an autoimmune reaction in a type 1 diabetes patient, which then can produce antibodies that would destroy insulin-making beta cells of the pancreas.

The disease is also called juvenile diabetes and sometimes insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. It is prevalent in children and adolescents, even though adults and senior citizens are also at risk of diabetes type 1.

It is believed that with diabetes type 1, there is no insulin production. One study is contrary to that belief from its research findings. The research carried on 1,500 diabetes type 1 patients using C-peptide concluded that insulin-making cells in some diabetes type 1 patients continue producing insulin.

The C-peptide, which connects peptides, is a molecule in the hormone insulin.

The research concluded that the molecule reduces to half in the first seven years of diabetes type 1 onset and then begins after that. But, that does not mean that you are free from diabetes type 1 since the insulin production remains low.

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone of peptide type produced by your pancreas. The carbohydrate in your diet is useful for your body's energy. It is your body's responsibility to break down carbohydrates into glucose for use by the cells.

Glucose cannot enter into the body cells without the help of insulin hormone. The cells use glucose to provide your body with energy and to store the leftover for future use. Insulin also regulates the glucose level in your blood not to get beyond or below the required level.

Without proper functioning of the hormone, glucose fails to enter into the cells causing blood sugar buildup.

Diabetes Type 1 Facts

  • Diabetes type 1 is an autoimmune disease that is commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents compared to adults. It is a chronic disease in children with high prevalence making it second to asthma.
  • Unlike diabetes type 2, which relates to an unhealthy lifestyle and weight, type 1 diabetes is known to be a genetically related disease.
  • A worldwide estimated figure of children and adolescents living with type 1 diabetes in 2019 was 1.1 million, adults 463 million, and affected children during pregnancy are 20 million live births.
  • Even though type 2 diabetes is more common and prevalent compared to type 1 diabetes, most children with diabetes fall in the group of type 1 diabetes.
  • The average and typical age of type 1 diabetes onset is age thirteen. The type 1 diabetes patients can continue producing regular insulin from a few of undestroyed insulin cells. The insulin produced is insufficient to balance glucose in the blood.
  • Type 1 diabetes can occur suddenly, and the symptoms appear within a few weeks to a few months after the disease onset.

According to a new finding by the University of Exeter, type 1 diabetes has "two distinct endotypes." The research team at the university suggested some names for the two new separate conditions. The two types of diabetes type 1 subtypes are T1DE1 (type 1 diabetes endotype 1) and T1DE2 (type 1 diabetes endotype 2), which mostly affects children between ages seven and thirteen.

The research findings are that children below seven years have their insulin-making cells destroyed quickly and hence fail to process insulin completely. On the other hand, those of thirteen years and above may retain insulin-making cells, albeit dormant.

According to scientists at the University of Exeter, they intend to research more on reinvigorating the dormant insulin beta cells. The success of such research can be a significant move towards the sought-after solution for type 1 diabetes cure.

Knowing diabetes type 1 symptoms and realizing them early enough can start you with immediate treatment. Delayed diagnosis and dehydration vulnerability is the main reason for the high mortality rate in children with type 1 diabetes. 

Blurred vision, sudden bedwetting and increased thirst are some of the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes.

What Causes Diabetes Type 1?

Scientists and researchers are yet to unveil the exact cause of diabetes type 1. However, several studies' findings report that the critical cause of diabetes type 1 is the immune system.

Diabetes type 1 can occur when your immune system changes to an autoimmune reaction and starts to attack and destroy your pancreas beta cells that produce insulin.

Another diabetes type 1 triggers can be a bacterial or viral infection, food containing chemical toxins, and genetic disposition.

Diabetes Type 1 Symptoms

An early diabetes type 1 diagnosis can enable you to lead a healthy life with no complications when you manage the disease according to your doctor's instructions.

The following are some of the type 1 diabetes signs and symptoms that can occur suddenly without warning:

  • Blurred vision
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Frequent passing of urine
  • Sudden bedwetting
  • Weight loss with no cause
  • Feeling weak and fatigue without having strenuous activities
  • Mood swings

When you notice some of the above signs and symptoms, arrange to visit your doctor for consultation and diagnosis. Your doctor may put you on treatment immediately if you are diagnosed with diabetes type 1,

Surprisingly, after diagnosing diabetes type 1, your insulin beta cells can continue producing insulin for a while. That period is known as the "honeymoon phase," where the existing cells continue to produce insulin after the condition destroys most of them. Eventually, the current active cells also cease to produce insulin.

Some researchers believe that there is the hope of treating diabetes type 1 by preserving the existing cells beyond the honeymoon phase.

We guess that the research can extend further to study how to multiply the existing beta cells left undestroyed to increase insulin production.

Some complications of type 1 diabetes include cognitive disfunction, gangrene and retinopathy.

Diabetes Type 1 Complications

Diabetes type 1 is a high risk of reducing life expectancy. However, you can change that trend and lead a healthy life.

Get an early diagnosis of diabetes type 1 if you suspect the existence of the disease from the symptoms you have. Strictly manage the condition without compromising any given procedure.

As you may know by now, insulin plays a significant role in diabetes type 1. Regulating your insulin level and regularly checking your sugar level are some of the procedures you need to follow strictly. Even though you can't completely rule out developing complications, you can lower the chances.

Some of the type 1 diabetes complications include:

Cognitive Dysfunction. Type 1 diabetes can complicate your brain function, which can cause cognitive conditions. Such conditions can consist of memory loss or dementia, confusion, low speed on processing information, and attention function.

Neuropathy. Neuropathy is another name for nerve damage. The blood capillaries that serve your nerves are at risk of injury from sugar buildup in the bloodstream. When that happens, your limbs can get numb, tinglish, or even loose feeling completely. Neuropathy can cause other serious complications such as erectile dysfunction in men.

Cardiovascular Disease. Diabetes type 1 is linked to various cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure, high blood pressure, angina or chest pain, coronary artery disease, or atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of arteries.

Retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy or eye damage can happen during your course of diabetes type 1. When the glucose continues to build up in the bloodstream, it weakens the retina walls to cause vision problems. Other eye complications from the disease can be glaucoma and cataracts.

Nephropathy. Nephropathy is kidney damage. Diabetes type 1 can lead to kidney damage due to the millions of tiny capillaries that filter urine before excretion. Your blood sugar increase can damage the blood capillaries, further leading to kidney failure and other kidney problems. The condition may require intense treatment such as dialysis or, in a worse case, a kidney transplant.

Foot Nerve Damage. Diabetes can lead to foot damage due to insufficient blood supply to the foot extremities. Common foot problems such as calluses, ingrown toenails, corns, and minor foot injury can develop bacterial infection and later dead tissue or wet gangrene.

Gangrene can lead to foot amputation. Therefore, seek medical attention to treat any diabetic foot sores to arrest any bacterial infection.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). Once you fail to produce insulin, your body then lacks energy or fuel from glucose. In that case, your body breaks down fat rapidly and in excess to replace the much-needed energy.

The fat process for energy produces ketones as a by-product that becomes toxically high, causing acidic blood and hence a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. It is the initial diabetes symptoms that doctors use as an indication for type 1 diabetes in a patient.

Diabetic ketoacidosis symptoms include fruity breath odor, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, mouth dryness (xerostomia), and facial flush.

DKA is an acute complication that would need urgent medical attention to arrest and stop ketoacidosis. If untreated, DKA can cause a coma or even death.

Some people would be at a high risk of diabetes type 1 more than others. It is essential to know where you stand with the disease to instill extra attention and care.

Diabetes Type 1 Risk Factors

Some of the risk factors include:

Genetics. Children born with specific genes such as complex human leukocyte antigens (HLA) are susceptible, but not guaranteed to type 1 diabetes. HLA are responsible for making proteins used by the immune system. The complex HLA plays a role as a risk of type 1 diabetes by 50%.

Family History. Type 1 diabetes in the family increases the risk of children born with the disease. If one family member has diabetes type1, there is a high risk of the disease developing in the child.

Age. Two noticeable ages prevalent to that type 1 diabetes are ages between 4 and 7 years. The other high-risk age factor is ages between 10 and 14 years.

Ethnicity. Some specific genes that contribute to type 1 diabetes can be more profound in a particular group of people compared to others. For instance, the genes in white people place them at a high risk of diabetes type 1 more than in other groups.

Environmental. Cow's milk contains A1 beta-casein milk protein, which is a risk factor for type 1 diabetes. Exposing an infant to such milk and especially cow milk-based formulas which contain bovine insulin can trigger diabetes type 1 to infants with HLA genetic risk factor.

Autoimmune Diseases. As explained earlier on, diabetes type 1 is an autoimmune disease. An acute autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis, Grave's disease, and pernicious anemia can trigger diabetes type 1.

Geography. If you live in Northern areas further away from the Equator that experiences cold weather most of the time, you are at a risk of diabetes type 1. People living in such areas spend most of the time indoors risking infecting each other with viral diseases. One trigger of diabetes type 1 is a viral infection and hence exposing people in such areas to the disease.

The critical treatment of diabetes type 1 is to administer insulin either through the use of syringes, a pump or other methods listed below.

Preventing Complications

It might be difficult to prevent yourself from getting diabetes type 1 entirely. But, you can prevent or delay the condition's complications by managing your diabetes. Do the following to manage type 1 diabetes:

  • Follow your doctor's instructions to the later
  • Administer insulin as directed by your doctor
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain healthy lifestyle habits
  • Eat a nutritious diet
  • Live a happy and stress-free life

Diabetes Type 1 Treatment Using Insulin

The critical treatment of diabetes type 1 is to administer insulin. Insulin delivery can vary from one person to another, depending on personal reasons or choices. You can use the following options for insulin delivery:

Syringes. It is the standard syringe and needle used in the hospitals for injections. You draw in insulin into the hollow center of the syringe using the plunger. Then you inject it in your body as directed by your doctor. Your doctor should discuss with you the amount of insulin you need and the area of administering it.

Insulin Pen. The pen has the shape of the normal pen. The pen comes with cartridges that contain insulin with disposable needles. The pen has a dial method with a display to select the right insulin dose.

Jet Injectors. A jet injector is the solution for most people who are scared of needles. When using a jet injector, you hold it against your skin, and then you push a button. A force of air from the jet injector pushes insulin through your skin pores and into your body. The method can leave you bruised from the effect of forced air while pushing insulin into your body.

Insulin Pump. If you cannot use any of the above means of insulin delivery, you need an insulin pump. The computerized device mimics the real pancreas by delivering insulin in small doses. Different companies have different types, while others have improved by including a glucose monitor.

The insulin pump delivers short-acting insulin in small doses called basal rate throughout the time you have it on. It also provides some amount of insulin after a meal that varies with the bolus size.

A catheter is implanted in your abdomen just beneath the fatty layers of your skin. The commonplace to implant the catheter is on the waist. You can then attach your insulin pump to the catheter whenever you need it.

Diabetes Type 1 Management Therapies

Researchers are working round the clock trying to come up with new methods and therapies for managing diabetes type 1 and more so the complete cure.

Pramlintide. The brand name for pramlintide is Symlin. It is a hormone type of therapy that you administer through injection to work together with insulin to provide amylin peptide hormone. The hormone is made by beta cells of the pancreas as well and hence deficient in type 1 diabetes. The hormone reduces blood sugar after meals and helps with stomach emptying.

Metformin. Metformin is one type of drug called metformin used on the management of type 2 diabetes patients and is believed to work well with diabetes type 1. Metformin is useful for those struggling in controlling blood sugar using insulin alone. Another problem metformin solves is weight gain.

SGLT2 Inhibitors. SGLT2 inhibitors are a therapy already working well on type 2 diabetes patients. Another name for SGLT2 inhibitors is gliflozins, which inhibits glucose reabsorption into the kidneys.

SGLT2 inhibitors work by preventing the kidneys from reabsorbing glucose back into the blood. The medication is an oral type in pill form that your doctor can combine with metformin.

There are several types of therapies that can successfully maintain blood sugar in type 1 diabetes. Learn from your doctor about the optional treatment that would suit your type 1 diabetes condition. Also, be open to new therapies that can improve your blood sugar management.

Type 1 Diabetes Disease Complementary and Alternative Therapy

There are various alternative treatments for heart health issues. However, you may require consulting your health practitioner for the best therapy and advice. The following are some of the recommendations from our natural health practitioner, Yvonne Dollar Perc.

DNA Testing

We do DNA health testing, which could help detect this potential and many others. If you are concerned that you might have the possibility, then give us a call, and we can set up a DNA health assessment test. Several Genes help promote a healthy blood sugar balance, but these 2 Genes involved are essential in promoting healthy blood sugar levels. The most important is the Gene FTO, and the IL6 Gene are critical factors in blood sugar balance.

Key Genes: FTO

Healthy Weight Management FTO rs9939609 / rs1121980
What is the purpose of the FTO Gene?

Many studies show that those with an SNP in the FTO Gene have a raised BMI, which comes with an increased risk of Obesity. It plays a significant role in overall Metabolism, Energy balance, and dispersal of fat. A SNiP in the FTO Gene is also connected with type II diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.

Key Genes: IL6

Interleukin 6 or IL6 rs1800795
What is the purpose of the IL6 Gene?

Interleukin 6 is connected with Autoimmune disorders like Rheumatoid Arthritis and Degenerative Diseases like Diabetes, Atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer's.Increased levels of IL-6 can lead to Autoimmune conditions.It is a prominent pro-inflammatory Enzyme.

The following are our recommendations for a healthy blood system.

Berberine IR (90 Caps). Berberine IR naturally supports healthy blood glucose levels by up-regulating enzymes that trigger blood glucose metabolism. Supports healthy glucose metabolism, and helps maintain blood sugar levels within normal range.

GTF Chromium (90 Tabs). Chromium is an essential mineral that, along with insulin, helps metabolize glucose (sugar) for use by cells as energy. Chromium is the central atom in what is known as the "glucose tolerance factor" (GTF), a hormonelike compound that works with insulin to transport glucose (sugar) from dietary carbohydrates out of the bloodstream and into the cells to be used as energy. Chronically high levels of glucose (sugar) and insulin in the blood can lead to insulin resistance and hypoglycemia.

GlucoReg, 60 Capsules. GlucoReg helps the body maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Cinnamon Balance, 120 VegcapsCinnamon Balance is a natural supplement that uniquely optimizes the power of cinnamon along with a blend of carefully selected herbs to support normal-range blood sugar levels. It combines the world's finest cinnamon with storied herbs that work in harmony to safely and naturally restore and maintain healthy blood sugar balance. This complementary approach sets Cinnamon Balance apart from the competition as an effective, gentle, and complete supplement for normal-range blood sugar support. The 250 mg per VegCap of cinnamon formulated in combination with supportive herbs, including astragalus root, burdock root, and dandelion root and leaf.


Type 1 diabetes does not spell out the end of living. It is a disease like any other only that it has no cure for now, but you can manage successfully. No matter how hard it is to manage the condition, you can be brave to continue doing what you can. Involve your loved ones to help you where you can't.

Reach out to us at Island Healthworks Natural Health Clinic for advice and discuss other concerns you might face. Give us a chance to partner with you in your condition by sharing with us what you are going through.

We love your input on this information. Write your comments on the comments section here below. Or, if you want to make it personal, write to us through our email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can also call us using our number +250.468.7685.

Was the information useful? Please share it with your loved ones and others if you care. Learn more about your heart by reading our heart disease series and any other information that might interest you.

Your health is our passion.

Yvonne Dollard Perc: Owner of Island Healthworks, Natural Health Practitioner, Teacher, Writer and Editor.
Elizabeth Njuguna: Researcher, Freelance Writer, with a Focus on Natural Health.
Sherry Robb: Print, Web and Social Media Designer Specializing in the Natural Health and Fitness Industries.

Island Healthworks offers in-person and virtual consultations for assessment of your specific needs, with health & lifestyle coaching, featuring the best of integrative natural health care. To book your consultation, please call 250-468-7685!

This article is intended for educational purposes and the information contained within is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease or health problem. Please seek appropriate medical attention for any health complaints. We cannot take responsibility for your health care decisions. Our intent is only to offer health information to help you with your search for better health. 

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Saturday, 08 May 2021