Type 1 Diabetes

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1 min 52 sec
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Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. This means that the body’s own immune system attacks healthy, normal body tissue, thinking it to be harmful. In terms of Type 1 Diabetes, the immune system attacks the cells in the Pancreas which produce Insulin. These are cells called Beta cells in the Islets of Langerhans and consequently, no insulin can be produced. This is very problematic as the levels of glucose in the bloodstream cannot be reduced, and the body can no longer store any more. It is still unknown why the body does this, however, a high amount of research is taking place to try and figure this out.

Type 1 diabetes can be hereditary, however the chances of developing it are actually quite low. If a close relative has type 1 diabetes, there is roughly a 6% chance of developing the condition, compared to around 0.5% for those without a close relative with the condition. Since the body will continually destroy these Beta cells in the pancreas, there is an obvious cure for this type of diabetes, where the only feasible option would be to have a pancreatic transplant. However, these are rarely performed for people with Type 1 diabetes, as the surgery comes with its own risks and there is a long waiting list. Therefore, the easiest way to treat diabetes is with an insulin pump. People will normally inject insulin in one of two ways. The first type is when it is taken either once or twice a day. This is long-acting and it will give the body the insulin it needs regardless of how much the person eats. The other way is when it is taken after the person eats anything containing lots of carbohydrates, and this can include drinks.