| Diabetes Mellitus |
| Type 1: Insulin-Dependent diabetes |
3/28/2010 | |
Introduction | |
In the United States, about 16 million people suffer from Type 1 diabetes, although only half of these individuals are diagnosed. Every year, about 650,000 people learn they have the disease. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of all deaths and the sixth leading cause of all deaths caused by disease.
Diabetes is a condition that occurs because of a lack of insulin or because of the presence of factors opposing the actions of insulin. The result of insufficient action of insulin is an increase in blood glucose concentration (hyperglycemia). Hyperglycemia is the unused glucose that builds up in your blood. Many other metabolic abnormalities occur, notably an increase in ketone bodies in the blood when there is a severe lack of insulin. The condition may also develop if muscle and fat cells responds poorly to insulin. In people with diabetes, glucose levels build up in the blood and urine, causing excessive urination, thirst, hunger, and problems with vision.
In Type I, or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), formerly called juvenile-onset diabetes, the body does not produce insulin or produces it only in very small quantities. Symptoms usually appear suddenly and in individuals under 20 years of age. Most cases occur before or around puberty. In the United States, about 5 to 10 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes, up to 800,000 persons, suffer from Type I diabetes. About 30,000 new cases are diagnosed every year.
Type I diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease because the immune system (system of organs, tissues, and cells that rid the body of disease-causing organisms or substances) attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, known as beta cells, that produce insulin. Scientists believe that genetic and environmental factors, such as viruses or food proteins, may somehow trigger the immune system to destroy these cells....