Diabetes Mellitus is the name given to a group of conditions that occurs when the level of glucose in the blood becomes higher than normal. It is mainly characterized by extreme hunger, increased thirst, frequent urination and an unexplained weight loss.
Type 1 diabetes mellitus is common in young children
Type 1 diabetes mellitus is common in children and young adults. Hence it is also known as juvenile diabetes. In this condition the pancreas are unable to generate sufficient insulin in the body. It is commonly known as IDDM or Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus.
Predisposing factors in the development of Type 1 diabetes mellitus
The exact cause of diabetes type 1 is yet to be determined. But below are some of the predisposing factors:
Family History is one of the common risk factors for developing Type 1 Diabetes mellitus
Genetic predisposition is one of the risk factors in the development of diabetes mellitus type 1. Diabetes mellitus is known to run in families. If one identical twin suffers from this condition then the other twin has a 50% chance of developing juvenile diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus type 1 is an auto immune disease
Type 1 diabetes mellitus is an auto immune disease in which there is disorder body’s defense system or the immune system. As a result of this the body cells are attacked by its own immune system and destroyed. As a result of this the beta cells of pancreas which are involved in the production of insulin are destroyed. This results in significantly less production of the insulin in the body. As a result the level of glucose in the blood is very high and the person is diagnosed to be suffering from type 1 diabetes mellitus. Usually a person suffering from diabetes mellitus type 1 is also found to suffer from other auto immune diseases.
Viral infections have been linked to the disease
What causes juvenile diabetes is not yet known. However, some studies are linking viral infections like mumps, measles and rubella to the development of this condition. There is still no scientific evidence to confirm this theory.
Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a serious complication of type 1 diabetes mellitus
If type 1 diabetes is not detected early, or not managed properly then a condition known as Diabetic Ketoacidosis can develop. This is very serious and potentially life threatening complication of type 1 diabetes mellitus and it needs urgent medical attention in hospital. This condition occurs when the person suffering from type 1 diabetes mellitus becomes dehydrated as a result of relative insulin deficiency. His blood glucose levels are elevated and there is increase in the level of organic acids called ketones. The affected person may develop a confused state of mind, low blood pressure, abdominal pain, excessive thirst, frequent urination and shortness of breath. Diabetic ketoacidosis is usually caused in newly diagnosed cases of type 1 diabetes. It is also triggered by acute illnesses like diarrhea and fever. A missed insulin injection can also lead to this serious complication.
Line of Treatment
Insulin injections are the most effective line of treatment in juvenile diabetes.