Monday, November 5, 2012

T1: Causes

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. Scientists do know that in most people with type 1 diabetes, their body's own immune system — which normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses — mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing (islet) cells in the pancreas. Genetics may play a role in this process, and exposure to certain viruses may trigger the disease.
Whatever the cause, once the islet cells are destroyed, you'll produce little or no insulin. Normally, the hormone insulin helps glucose enter your cells to provide energy to your muscles and tissues. Insulin comes from the pancreas, a gland located just behind the stomach. When everything is working properly, once you eat, the pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream. As insulin circulates, it acts like a key by unlocking microscopic doors that allow sugar to enter the body's cells. Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in the bloodstream, and as the blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from the pancreas.
The liver acts as a glucose storage and manufacturing center. When insulin levels are low — when you haven't eaten in a while, for example — the liver converts stored glycogen back to glucose to keep your blood glucose level within a normal range.
In type 1 diabetes, none of this occurs because there's no insulin to let glucose into the cells. So instead of being transported into your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream, where it can cause life-threatening complications.
Seth was eating and drinking normally, but he lost 25 pounds in a brief period of time.  He was literally starving to death because his cells were not receiving the nutrition from the food he was consuming.  I look at pictures now and it is so obvious that he was sick, but seeing him every day, it was not as obvious.
However, the day before I took him to the doctor I knew in my heart what the diagnosis was going to be, something had finally clicked and all the bits and pieces of information that I had seen finally broke through the filter in my brain and I was not shocked at all when the doctor said...DIABETES.
If this blog or this information helps someone in their journey or puts a piece of information in their brain that helps them...then it has been successful.

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