Fast facts about type 1 diabetes
Why is high blood glucose bad for the body?
Short answer: Very high blood glucose is what leads a person to seek medical help and find out he has type 1 diabetes. Short term problems include weight loss, frequent urination, and thirst. Long term complications include eye disease, kidney and nerve disease.
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Diabetic ketoacidosis: If blood glucose is above about 250 mg/dL and a urine test shows the presence of ketones, the person has diabetic ketoacidosis.
Symptoms: The symptoms are frequent urination, constant thirst, abdominal pain, weakness, weight loss, acetone (fruity) smell on the breath, labored breathing, and coma if untreated.
In the United States, about 30 percent of children with T1DM find out they have the disease as a result of being treated for DKA.
The root cause of these problems is a lack of insulin. Without insulin, glucose can't get into cells, so it builds up in the blood.
The body turns to fat for energy. Ketones are products of fat breakdown, which cause the blood to become acid. (and breath to smell fruity).
It is important to keep blood glucose within a normal range over time in order to prevent long-term complications caused by high blood glucose. These include eye damage (retinopathy), kidney damage (nephropathy), and nerve damage (neuropathy), and heart problems. These complications are all preventable.
By David Hay Jones