Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Treatment and Management


Insulin-dependent diabetes (also called type 1 diabetes mellitus) has remained a major health challenge affecting many people in every corner of the world (Handelsman et al. 13). The chronic disease is defined as a condition whereby the pancreas produces very little (or no) insulin. Atkinson defines “insulin” is a hormone that allows glucose to enter the body cells in order to produce enough energy for normal functioning (2). This illness is usually associated with the destruction of beta cells in the pancreas. This destruction affects the body’s ability to produce insulin. The condition has been observed in childhood and can develop in individuals aged between 30 and 50.

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Scientists have been unable to present a detailed description of the major causes of this condition. However, studies have indicated clearly that a person’s genetic constitution can be a risk factor for type 1 diabetes (Coleman et al. 4). The condition has been observed in different families or relatives. This aspect explains why genetics have been linked with the disease. Exposure to various viruses or carcinogenic elements can result in the destruction of more beta cells in the pancreas. The body’s immune system can mistakenly attack the beta cells and result in the condition (Atkinson et al. 71). Analysts and scientists are also conducting numerous studies in order to understand this behavior of the immune system clearly.

Type 1 Diabetes Statistics

This condition has been observed to affect many people in the United States and beyond. For instance, statistics indicate that over 1.2 million American citizens are suffering from type 1 diabetes mellitus. The condition is currently affecting over 200,000 individuals aged between 1 and 20 years (Atkinson et al. 71). Adults appear to be affected the most by the disease. Over 40,000 new cases are reported in the United States annually. Within the past decade, the prevalence of the condition in different parts of the world has increased significantly by around 20 percent.

Globally, diabetes affects over 422 million people. Currently, the global percentage of people with the condition is over 8.8 (Coleman et al. 8). Ten percent of all diabetes cases are type 1 (Atkinson et al. 72). This means that the illness should be taken seriously than ever before. The disease is also challenging because it affects both children and adults. Experts believe strongly that polyuria, polyphagia, and polydipsia are commonly associated with the condition.

Signs and Symptoms

The major signs associated with type 1 diabetes tend to be sudden. Physicians and individuals should be aware of the major signs in order to take the necessary precautions. Some of the common signs include extreme thirst and frequent urination. A person might record increased appetite and sudden weight loss (Atkinson et al. 75). Some people might have vision challenges or changes. Sugar in the urine is another common sign associated with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

A person “who has a fruity odor on the breath can be having the illness” (Serena et al. 7146). Heavy breathing is usually common in people who have developed this condition. Another common symptom is unconsciousness. Individuals who start to record these signs and symptoms should see a physician. The approach will make it easier for them to identify and manage the condition in an evidence-based manner. Parents should be keen to monitor their children who might be affected by the condition.


People who exhibit the major symptoms and signs of type 1 diabetes mellitus should ensure the right diagnosis is done. This practice is necessary in order to make sure the individual receives the best support. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has presented the best diagnostic criteria for this condition. The first criterion entails “the use of fasting plasma glucose (EFG) level (126 mg/dL)” (Russell et al. 319). Individuals “who have classic symptoms of hyperglycemic crisis (or hyperglycemia) should be diagnosed using random plasma glucose” (Handelsman et al. 29). The diagnostic approach used will present adequate information that can determine if one is affected by the condition or not.

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Side Effects and Complications

Type 1 diabetes mellitus is one of the conditions associated with a wide range of side effects. Patients affected by the condition are at risk of a number of complications that can affect their health. To begin with, the disease is known to result in eye damage. The disease affects the blood vessels in the retina. This damage can result in vision loss or total blindness. Another common vision condition associated with this disease is glaucoma (Russell et al. 319). The disease can also result in a number of fungal or bacterial infections. Women suffering from this type of diabetes will have higher chances of experiencing pregnancy complications. Such complications are also associated with preeclampsia and increased blood pressure (Handelsman et al. 28).

Neuropathy (also known as nerve damage) is another complication or side effect of type 1 diabetes mellitus (Handelsman et al. 44). The sugar in the blood vessels can injure the capillaries known to nourish body nerves. Affected limbs or hands will eventually become insensitive due to the affected nerve endings. Nerve damage has been associated with gastrointestinal problems that result in vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.

Nephropathy is the damage to the kidney (Handelsman et al. 44). The human kidney has millions of tiny vessels that filter and clean blood. When such tiny vessels are damaged, the filtering system becomes disoriented. This damage can affect the normal functioning of the body and can require a kidney transplant or dialysis (Atkinson et al. 76). These complications and side effects explain why more people should be concerned about the condition. By so doing, it will be possible to implement powerful initiatives and management practices that have the potential to deal with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Treatment and Management


The onset of type 1 diabetes mellitus is the beginning of a rigorous treatment process. This is the case because the untreated or poorly managed condition will result in numerous complications. Individuals who have the illness should consider a number of treatment options. The first one is the use of insulin. Patients should take insulin injections on a daily basis (Atkinson 3). An insulin pump is usually essential for infected people. Patients should be encouraged and guided to monitor their blood sugar levels several times every day. The practice will ensure the condition does not get out of hand.

Medical checkups will be needed regularly. The physician will provide adequate tests that can be used by the patient to monitor the major side effects or complications associated with the condition. For example, the doctor will ensure the kidney, eyes, heart, and blood vessels are monitored frequently (Atkinson 7). Any kind of damage or infection will be identified and treated in a timely manner.

More often than not, many people affected by this kind of diabetes will be informed about it after being admitted to a hospital. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a condition that is widely associated with the disease. Severe symptoms should be treated by expert physicians in an intensive care unit (ICU). Diabetic ketoacidosis is usually treated using different fluids. These fluids are administered through a vein (Atkinson 4). The fluids are useful because they minimize the chances of dehydration and eventually result in electrolyte balancing (Chiang et al. 2039). The level of insulin in the body is boosted in order to reduce the blood sugar quantities in the body. Consequently, the body will be unable to produce more ketones (Atkinson 4).


People who have type 1 diabetes mellitus should implement a powerful disease management plan in order to deal with it. The first consideration is for the patient to eat healthy food materials. A balanced diet will ensure the body functions optimally. The inclusion of carbohydrates in the diet will support the management plan. Foods that contain sugar should be avoided (Atkinson 5). This practice will make sure the injected insulin maintains the level of sugar in the body.

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Physicians and experts encourage people with this condition to engage in regular exercises and physical activities. Atkinson indicates clearly that exercises will improve the functioning of the body and eventually maximize the use of insulin in the body (8). Physical exercises are supported by many scientists because they can “reduce chances of developing blood vessel disease or heart conditions” (Chiang et al. 2039).

Russell et al. encourage individuals suffering from type 2 diabetes mellitus to watch out for specific complications or side effects (319). Some of the diseases to monitor include nerve, kidney, heart, and blood conditions. The affected individuals should visit their physicians frequently in order to receive the best information and support. This approach will make it easier for them to lead normal lives and eventually realize their potential.

Experts encourage patients to avoid certain malpractices such as smoking. The behavior can complicate the condition and affect the management process. Patients should avoid drinking alcohol because it can result in blood sugar imbalances (Handelsman et al. 37). Analysts indicate that blood sugar levels can be easily predicted with patients control their meals and food quantities (Handelsman et al. 44). This analysis explains why patients should have uniform daily procedures or routines. This practice will make it easier for affected individuals to record positive results.

Treatment Costs

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetes is one of the most expensive conditions in terms of cost in the United States (Atkinson 7). The estimated cost of diagnosing and treating diabetes in the country stood at 245 billion dollars in 2012 (Russell et al. 318). The amount has increased significantly within the past three years. Numerous costs are incurred when providing inpatient care, nursing stay, physician support, and prescription drugs (Chiang et al. 2043).

Individuals who have the condition will incur around $7,800 annually (Russell et al. 319). The costs will increase when specific expenses such as transportation and care are included. The medical expenses associated with the condition will increase in the future. As more people continue to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, chances are high that the country will record increased costs for dealing with the condition.


The most disappointing thing is that human beings cannot prevent this health condition. However, scientists are conducting numerous studies in order to come up with new strategies to deal with the condition (Chiang et al. 2045). Studies have indicated that individuals who have relatives with the condition should monitor their conditions continuously. The practice will make it easier for more people to protect themselves from the condition.

Patients who have the condition can implement a number of measures to protect themselves from the complications associated with it. The first evidence-based practice is getting regular checkups (Serena et al. 7149). The practice will make it easier for patients to detect every early sign of side effects or complications. When the complication is identified and treated in a timely manner, the physician can provide adequate support in order to ensure the condition is slowed, reversed, or stopped. Individuals who have other complications such as high cholesterol and diabetes should seek appropriate treatment. This practice is necessary because the presence of untreated conditions can increase the chances of developing the disease.

Concluding Remarks

Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a critical condition that is associated with different complications. The disease can occur naturally and make it impossible for many patients to lead quality lives. Insulin injections will be needed in order to manage the disease (Coleman et al. 7). Positive lifestyle choices characterized by exercises and physical activities will support the disease management process. Complications associated with the disease should be monitored regularly in order to produce positive results.

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Works Cited

Atkinson, Mark, et al. “Type 1 diabetes.” The Lancet, vol. 383, no. 9911, 2014, pp. 69-82.

Atkinson, Mark. “The Pathogenesis and Natural History of Type 1 Diabetes.” Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, vol. 7, no. 1, 2017, pp. 1-14.

Chiang, Jane, et al. “Type 1 Diabetes Through the Life Span: A Position Statement of the American Diabetes Association.” Diabetes Care, vol. 1, no. 1, 2014, pp. 2034-2054.

Coleman, Samantha, et al. “Myostatin inhibition therapy for insulin-deficient type 1 diabetes.” Scientific Reports, vol. 1, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1-17.

Handelsman, Yehuda, et al. “American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and American College of Endocrinology: Clinical Practice Guidelines for Developing a Diabetes Mellitus Comprehensive Care Plan – 2015.” Endocrine Practice, vol. 21, no. 1, 2015, pp. 1-87.

Russell, Steven, et al. “Outpatient Glycemic Control with a Bionic Pancreas in Type 1 Diabetes.” The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 371, no. 4, 2014, pp. 313-325.

Serena, Gloria, et al. “The Role of Gluten in Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes.” Nutrients, vol. 7, no. 1, 2015, pp. 7145-7163.

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