Type 1 Diabetes
For many years, Type I Diabetes was known as juvenile diabetes; today, it is referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes, a term that is more fitting for the factors involved in this chronic condition. The root cause of this disorder is the inability of the pancreas to make enough - or any - insulin, the hormone required for processing sugar into energy. The causes of this condition are varied, but not fully known. While Type I Diabetes most often emerges in one's childhood or adolescent years, with two peak periods of diagnosis occurring between four and seven years and then between ten and fourteen years, it is not unheard of for it to manifest in adulthood.
Generally, cases of Type I Diabetes involve the body destroying its own insulin-producing cells; this mistaken action of the immune system is one of the causal factors for the condition. Why the immune system has this response, however, is not fully understood. There has been shown to be some genetic link in the prevalence of Type I Diabetes, as individuals whose parent(s) or sibling(s) have been diagnosed are more likely themselves to be diagnosed as well, but viruses and exposure to certain environmental elements have shown a causal link. As an example, the prevalence of Type I Diabetes increases as one moves further from the equator.
Symptoms of this condition often appear quickly, and can include excessive thirst, weight loss with not discernible cause, strong feelings of hunger, mood changes, and blurred vision. Treatment involves taking insulin, monitoring one's blood sugar, working to maintain a healthy weight, and limiting overall carbohydrate intake. If left untreated, various complications can occur, including cardiovascular problems, neuropathy, kidney damage, problems with the retina, poor blood flow to the limbs (especially the feet), and maternal and fetal issues during pregnancy. Despite there being treatment for this condition, at this time there is no cure.