Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the persons own immune system damaging islet cells in the pancreas which make insulin (autoimmunity). Insulin is the hormone which enables body tissues to use energy gained from the diet, and if not present, glucose in the blood will rise and the body will have to use other forms of energy production.
Therefore all Type 1 diabetics require insulin, however, there are different ways to deliver this insulin (subcutaneous injection or insulin pump), different insulins available, and different methods used to best control blood sugars.
Therefore, most Type 1 diabetics will have regular specialist endocrinologist review to ensure that their diabetes management achieves the goal of prevention of short (Diabetic Ketoacidosis, Hypoglycaemia) and long (Microvascular – Retinopathy, Nephropathy, Neuropathy and Macrovascular) term complications whilst not significantly limiting their lifestyle, including work, exercise, going out and travelling.
Whilst no new insulins have become available in Australia recently, there are newer insulins available in other countries that may become available here soon. Furthermore, there are advances in managing Type 1 Diabetes such as continuous glucose monitoring, smarter glucometers and insulin pumps, and there is a likelihood that closed loop systems will be here in the not too distant future. Therefore, it is worth having your diabetes reviewed by an endocrinologist or diabetes educator if you haven’t done this for a while. It is also worth having a specialist review if it is not clear if you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, particularly if there is a strong family history of diabetes.
Diabetes WA, a support group for people with diabetes, has a lot of information on various aspects of diabetes on their website. See the box below for more details on managing your diabetes: