Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Type 1 Diabetes Treatment?
For over 50 years, our medical team has been providing quality healthcare to the community of Los Angeles and, if you struggle with type 1 diabetes, we strongly encourage you to visit our specialists. After a thorough health evaluation, you will receive the most effective treatment for your condition in a warm and compassionate environment, as we highly value the comfort and well-being of our patients. Under the state-of-the-art technology of our hospital, you can undergo the latest treatments available for type 1 diabetes.
When the body is no longer capable of producing insulin, the substance that helps glucose enter the cells to provide them with the necessary energy, type 1 diabetes is diagnosed. The condition leads to high glucose levels in the blood.
Type 1 diabetes was previously known as mellitus or insulin-dependent diabetes, juvenile diabetes, brittle diabetes, and sugar diabetes. In almost all cases, type 1 diabetes develops in children and young adults, although it can develop at any age. There are approximately 1.6 million people with type 1 diabetes in the United States.
However, type 1 diabetes accounts for 5% of all occurrences, as the rest are type 2 diabetes when the body does not respond to the insulin it produces. It is essential to know that type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition, which means there is no cure. Instead, the purpose of treatment is to keep the symptoms under control and minimize their impact on your everyday life.
The objective of type 1 diabetes treatment is to keep the blood sugar levels close to normal, to prevent or delay health complications. In general, the purpose is to keep your daytime blood sugar levels before meals between 80 and 130 mg/dL and no higher than 180 mg/dL after meals.
Type 1 diabetes patients need to take insulin every day for the rest of their lives since there is no cure for it. There are multiple types of insulin, such as:
- short-acting insulin, such as Humulin R and Novolin R
- rapid-acting insulin, such as glulisine, insulin lispro, and insulin aspart
- intermediate-acting insulin, such as insulin NPH
- long-acting insulin, such as glargine, insulin detemir, and insulin degludec
Because stomach enzymes will break down insulin, it cannot be taken orally in the form of a pill. Instead, it comes in the form of injections or pumps. You can inject insulin under your skin by using a syringe with a thin needle or using a pen designed for this purpose, which is available as a disposable or refillable insulin pen. Administering at least three daily insulin injections was found to improve blood sugar levels.
As for insulin pumps, they are devices that you need to wear to receive insulin through a tube that connects a reservoir of insulin to a catheter placed under your abdomen's skin. This pump can be worn in numerous ways, such as on your waistband, in your pocket, or with specially designed pump belts.
There is also a wireless pump option. You wear an insulin pod that holds the insulin reservoir on your body with a catheter that is placed under your skin. The pod can be worn on your abdomen, lower back, or on the leg or arm. The programming is done through a wireless device that communicates with the pod.
In addition to taking insulin daily, you will also need to change your lifestyle so that you will not experience health complications as a consequence of your type 1 diabetes, such as:
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
The most frequent symptoms of type 1 diabetes are:
Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes
There are multiple diagnostic tests available for type 1 diabetes, some of the most effective being the following:
- glycated hemoglobin test (A1C): the hemoglobin A1C test measures your average blood sugar for the past 2 to 3 months, and type 1 diabetes is diagnosed if the result is 6.5% or higher
- fasting plasma glucose (FPG): the purpose of this test is to assess your blood glucose levels after having fasted overnight. Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed at a blood glucose level of at least 126 mg/dl
- oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT): this two-hour test that monitors your blood glucose levels before and 2 hours after you consume a sugary drink, allows your doctor to see how your body processes glucose, and type 1 diabetes is diagnosed at 2-hour blood glucose of 200 mg/dl or higher
- random glucose test: this blood test can be performed at any time of the day, and type 1 diabetes is diagnosed at blood glucose of 200 mg/dl or higher with the patient experiencing symptoms of hyperglycemia or hyperglycemic crisis
- insulin and c-peptide levels: the levels of these will be low or average with type 1 diabetes but increased with type 2 diabetes
- antibody levels: people with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes will often have high levels of antibodies against certain proteins found in the pancreas
Although medical researchers are unsure about what the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is at the moment, they believe that environmental and genetic factors may play a role in the development of this condition.
In type 1 diabetes, the immune system targets and destroys the cells in the pancreas that release insulin in the body. The following are the risk factors for type 1 diabetes:
- family history: if you have a close family member with type 1 diabetes, your chances of developing it are greater
- age: while type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, it is more likely to develop in children, teenagers, and young adults
- race: Caucasians are more prone to developing type 1 diabetes than African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans
- viral infections: german measles, coxsackie, and mumps are viruses that are believed to trigger the onset of type 1 diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, it is crucial to take the treatment prescribed to you by your doctor, namely insulin, daily to prevent serious health complications. However, in addition to insulin, you may want to try complementary and alternative therapies to relieve your symptoms and lower your blood sugar levels.
It is essential to keep in mind that the following alternative treatments for type 1 diabetes are not authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and, as a consequence, you must always consult with your physician before testing any of them:
- exercise: physical activity twice a week, such as lifting free weights or using resistance bands, has been found helpful in maintaining a healthy weight for people with type 1 diabetes, as exercise can improve glucose tolerance and lower your blood sugar levels
- aloe vera: in 2 clinical trials, medical researchers found that people with type 1 diabetes who took aloe vera supplements for six weeks had lower fasting blood sugar
- chromium: because people with type 1 diabetes lose more chromium in their urine than the general population, which can affect insulin resistance, taking this supplement may help control the levels of sugar in your blood
- cinnamon: several studies found that cinnamon can increase insulin sensitivity in people with type 1 diabetes
- magnesium: since people with low magnesium levels are more likely to develop diabetes, having a diet rich in magnesium may improve your symptoms if you already struggle with this condition
- aromatherapy: this is a therapy used to reduce your stress levels, which may raise your blood sugar levels if they are high, and involves being exposed to vapors of essential oils such as fenugreek, cinnamon, cumin, and oregano
- acupuncture: as a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting thin needles at strategic points in your body, acupuncture can help reduce your stress levels as well
- meditation: meditation is another relaxation technique that will help you keep your stress levels under control
Since medical researchers do not know what causes diabetes, there is no known way to prevent the onset of the condition if you have a predisposition to developing it.