Facts about Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects around 3-4 million people in the UK 10 – 15% of whom have Type 1 diabetes and 85 – 90% of whom have Type 2 diabetes. In the UK over 20,000 children with Type 1 diabetes are under 15 years of age.
Type 1 Diabetes
This type of diabetes usually affects children and adults with diagnosis usually up to the age of 40. The number of children diagnosed under 5 is increasing dramatically and is often referred to as insulin dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas and the body no longer produces insulin and glucose levels rise dramatically. Recent research has shown that often a very minimal trace amount of insulin may still be produced. Insulin treatment is always required for survival to avoid acute hyperglycaemia and ketoacidosis. It is diagnosed as an acute health condition.
There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes and exact cause has not been established despite extensive research. It is thought that in some people there may be a genetic link. Research has shown that a common virus may trigger the body’s immune system to attack its own insulin producing pancreatic cells.
There are also instances where the cause could be experiencing something very dramatic, eg witnessing a fatal car crash or a disaster of some sort or a traumatic personal experience.