Paediatric 12 Hour First Aid Level 3 (VTQ) - Online Blended Part 1

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Type 1 Diabetes

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Understanding Type 1 Diabetes: Causes, Hereditary Factors, and Treatment

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, meaning the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy body tissue, perceiving it as harmful. In the case of Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the beta cells in the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, which are responsible for producing insulin.

Impact on the Body

As a result of this autoimmune attack, no insulin can be produced. This is problematic because insulin is necessary to regulate blood glucose levels and allow the body to store glucose. Without insulin, glucose levels in the bloodstream remain high.

Unknown Causes

The exact reason why the immune system attacks beta cells is still unknown. However, extensive research is ongoing to understand the underlying causes of this autoimmune response.

Hereditary Factors

Type 1 diabetes can be hereditary, but the chances of developing it are relatively low. If a close relative has Type 1 diabetes, there is about a 6% chance of developing the condition, compared to approximately 0.5% for those without a close relative with the condition.

Treatment Options

Pancreatic Transplant

While a pancreatic transplant could theoretically cure Type 1 diabetes, it is rarely performed due to the risks associated with surgery and the long waiting list.

Insulin Therapy

The most common treatment for Type 1 diabetes is insulin therapy, typically administered via an insulin pump or injections. There are two main types of insulin administration:

  • Long-acting insulin: Taken once or twice daily to provide the body with a steady supply of insulin regardless of food intake.
  • Short-acting insulin: Taken after consuming food or drinks high in carbohydrates to manage blood glucose levels.