Type 1 Diabetes Type 1 is a chronic auto-immune disease caused by the immune system attacking and killing the pancreas as a response to a diﬀerent illness or a trauma to the body. It is an ‘invisible illness’ and recognised as a disability. Type 1 causes the body to be unable to produce any insulin, and the inability to regulate blood sugar levels automatically, therefore the individual must take on the role of the pancreas and do it manually. This disease is demanding and unpredictable. Anything can cause changes in blood glucose levels;
- Movement- moderate (walking around) or extreme (exercise)
Low Blood Sugar Someone with T1 will regularly experience hypos and hypers. A low blood sugar, also called hypoglycaemia or a "hypo", is where the level of sugar (glucose) in your blood drops too low. A hypo is a medical emergency; if not treated promptly and eﬀectively, it can result in coma and death.
Any reading below 5 and between 4, should be monitored as this could progress into a hypo. Every hypo is diﬀerent, and symptoms will vary each time. It can take the brain up to 45 minutes to recover from a hypo- once levels are up you can continue your day but brain function will be slower at times.
Early signs of a low blood sugar include:
• feeling hungry • sweating • headache • tingling lips • feeling shaky or trembling • dizziness • feeling tired • a fast or pounding heartbeat (palpitations) • inability to communicate • becoming easily irritated, tearful, stroppy or moody • turning pale • weakness • drop in body temperature • blurred vision • diﬃculty concentrating • confusion • unusual behaviour, slurred speech or clumsiness (like being drunk) • feeling sleepy • ﬁts (seizures) • collapsing or passing out A reading of less than 4mmol/L is too low and should be treated.
1. Have a sugary drink or snack – a small glass of non-diet ﬁzzy drink or fruit juice, a small handful of sweets, or 4 or 5 dextrose tablets.
2. Test blood sugar after 10 to 15 minutes – if it's 4mmol or above and you start to feel better, stay sitting until it has raised to 5mmol or above. If it's still below 4mmol, treat again with a sugary drink or snack and take another reading in 10 to 15 minutes.
Treating someone who's unconscious or very drowsy Follow these steps:
1. Put the person in the recovery position and do not put anything in their mouth – so they do not choke.
2. Give them an injection of glucagon medicine – if it's available and you know how to do it. Call 999 for an ambulance if an injection is not available or you do not know how to do it.
3. Wait about 10 minutes if you have given them an injection – move on to step 4 if the person wakes up and starts to feel better. Call 999 for an ambulance if they do not improve within 10 minutes.
4. Give them a sugary drink or snack, followed by a carbohydrate-containing snack – the drinks and snacks used to treat a low blood sugar yourself should work.
Treating someone having a ﬁt (seizure) Follow these steps if someone has a ﬁt caused by low blood sugar:
1. Stay with them and stop them hurting themselves – lie them down on something soft and move them away from anything dangerous (like a road or hot cooker).
2. Give them a sugary snack once the ﬁt stops – if the ﬁt stops in a few minutes, treat them as you would treat a low blood sugar yourself once you're able to.
3. Call 999 for an ambulance if the ﬁt lasts more than 5 minutes.
Causes of low blood sugar In people with diabetes, the main causes of low blood sugar are:
• taking too much diabetes medicine – especially too much insulin, medicines called sulphonylureas (such as glibenclamide and gliclazide) or medicines called glinides (such as repaglinide and nateglinide)
• skipping or delaying a meal
• eating less carbohydrate-containing food than usual, such as bread, cereals, pasta, potato and fruit
• exercise or activity, especially if it's intense or unplanned
• binge drinking or drinking alcohol on an empty stomach
Sometimes there's no obvious reason why low blood sugar happens.
High Blood Sugar Symptoms of hyperglycaemia include:
• increased thirst and a dry mouth
• needing to pee frequently
• becoming easily irritated, tearful, stroppy or moody
• blurred vision
• unintentional weight loss
• recurrent infections
• tummy pain
• feeling or being sick
• breath that smells fruity
T1 causes the body to change in a number of ways.
It aﬀects brain function and physically changes the brain
Your blood cannot create platelets anymore- bleeding from a cut is harder to stop. Blood doesn’t clot as it should
In women it aﬀects menstrual cycles due to the change in blood ﬂow- periods are often more intense, with cramping and heavier ﬂow
In some people, extreme diabetic fatigue, persistent nausea and dizziness (I experience all three on a daily basis)