Case study: Carol is 17 years old and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 7 years. Carol has had a recent hospital admission for dehydration and high blood glucose. During the admission Carol was found to be 6 weeks pregnant. Prior to the admission she had been experiencing weight loss and changes in mood.
Type 1 diabetes develops when the immune system starts destructing the human beta cells. The destruction of beta cells affects glucose (sugar) regulation in the blood consequently destroying the production of insulin, therefore taking away energy which we require each day, causing dehydration and high blood glucose.
The beta-cells are destroyed due to a combination of factors: environmental, genetic and immune dysfunctions. When these beta-cells are faulty or destroyed insulin cannot be produced. This is because the role of the beta cells is to produce insulin within the pancreas. The beta cells are signalled when to release insulin’s to certain parts of the body. A person with type 1 diabetes is likely to have lost 70-80% of their beta-cells mass which is why they must manually inject insulin into themselves to maintain a healthy blood glucose level. (Cnop et al., 2005)
Research suggests that individuals with a genetic error will receive some form of immune system malfunction when exposed to a particular pathogen and a virus enters the body.
Type 1 diabetes is brought on when the immune system intends to attack and destroy the virus in the body by producing T lymphocytes which actually take out most of the beta cells. There is a genetic predisposition to Type 1 diabetes which leads to this malfunction of the immune system i.e. autoimmunity.
Beta cells affect a person’s glucose regulations within the blood by being in charge of sending insulin around the body when signalled to do so. Once these signals are sent this insulin is released and raises a person’s glucose levels. It’s important the beta cells work and this insulin is released so that the body has access to this chemical when needed. People with Diabetes will struggle to naturally produce insulin due to autoimmunity (where the beta cells are destroyed by the immune system). Therefore, this means having to maintain your blood glucose levels manually, through injecting yourself or eating sugary foods if your blood sugar levels drop.
Blood glucose monitoring: How body maintains blood glucose levels? Normal levels? Role of insulin and glucagon? how hormones involved? How glucose enters cells? What goes wrong with glucagon regulation when the beta cells are destroyed?
Low levels of insulin in the body and the continuous drop can lead to increased blood glucose levels. The symptoms of lack of blood glucose control are excessive thirst, frequent urination, increased appetite, unexplained weight loss, hypoglycaemia and mood changes.
Genetic basis to type 1 diabetes, what are genes/chromosomes are believed to be involved in the disease? What external triggers (viruses) are...