juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disease that is a form of diabetes in which very little or no insulin is produced by the islets of Langerhans (containing beta cells) in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone required for the cells to use blood sugar for energy and it helps regulate normal glucose levels in the bloodstream. Before treatment this results in high blood sugar levels in the body. The common symptoms are frequent urination, increased thirst, increased hunger, and weight loss. Additional symptoms may include blurry vision, tiredness, and slow wound healing. Symptoms typically develop over a short period of time, often a matter of weeks.
The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors include having a family member with the condition. The underlying mechanism involves an autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Diabetes is diagnosed by testing the level of sugar or glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) in the blood. Type 1 diabetes can be distinguished from type 2 by testing for the presence of autoantibodies.
There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Treatment with insulin is required for survival. Insulin therapy is usually given by injection just under the skin but can also be delivered by an insulin pump. A diabetic diet and exercise are important parts of management. If left untreated, diabetes can cause many complications. Complications of relatively rapid onset include diabetic ketoacidosis and nonketotic hyperosmolar coma. Long-term complications include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, foot ulcers and damage to the eyes. Furthermore, since insulin lowers blood sugar levels, complications may arise from low blood sugar if excessive amount of insulin is taken than necessary.
Type 1 diabetes makes up an estimated 5–10% of all diabetes cases. The number of people affected globally is unknown, although it is estimated that about 80,000 children develop the disease each year. Within the United States the number of people affected is estimated at one to three million. Rates of disease vary widely, with approximately one new case per 100,000 per year in East Asia and Latin America and around 30 new cases per 100,000 per year in Scandinavia and Kuwait. It typically begins in children and young adults.
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