By: Ireen B. Banasan, BSC
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus is also called “juvenile diabetes” for it occurs in an early age. It is also known as Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM) because the islets responsible for producing insulin are damaged or destroyed maybe secondary to previous viral illness or to trauma thus, no insulin is produced at all. This type of Diabetes is often treated with insulin replacement.
The Pancreas Insulin
The pancreas is a yellowish, fish-shaped organ located at the upper abdomen. It has two secretory functions : endocrine and exocrine. Its endocrine function is to secrete insulin.
Specifically, insulin is secreted by the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans. The Insulin is like a carrier of blood glucose. It is like a “key” so glucose can enter the “doors” of the cells of our body and be used as energy for our daily needs. Without insulin, the glucose we take in cannot be used by our body to produce energy. Thus, the glucose stays in the blood.
In the case of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, there is a complete destruction of the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans which causes no insulin production. Since insulin is essential to glucose utilization, glucose stays and builds up in the blood stream causing hyperglycemia, or excess glucose in the blood. This excess glucose puts pressure to the kidneys and eventually leak into the urine. Due to the weight of glucose in the urine, urination is triggered so frequent – polyuria. Dehydration from frequent urination results to excessive thirst called polydypsia. And since glucose is not utilized by the body a person with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus is always hungry, a sign called polyphagia. Chronic Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus can lead to complications such as hypertention, retinopathy, and renal failure. Untreated Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus can lead to Diabetic Ketoacidosis. Diabetic Ketoacidosis results from rapid catabolism of fats. Since glucose cannot be utilized as a source of energy, fat breakdown is an alternative energy source. But fat catabolism has ketone byproducts, accumulation of which leads to Diabetic Ketoacidosis.
Below are signs and symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
- glucose in urine
- weight loss