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Delving Into Type 1 Diabetes: Causes and Treatments

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Throughout the years, research has revealed that diabetes is on the rise in the United States. It is estimated that 18.2 million Americans, or 6.3% of the population, have diabetes, of which “[a]n estimated 900,000 to 1.8 million people have type 1 diabetes” (Touchette 7). This means that the disease is getting closer to home, affecting family members, friends, and other loved ones. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what type 1 diabetes is, why it occurs, and the treatment options available for those who are affected by it.
The first step to understanding how type 1 diabetes affects an individual is knowing how the body processes glucose, a type of sugar. When you consume food, it is broken down into simpler forms, including glucose. Glucose then enters the bloodstream where it is distributed throughout the body. The cells in the body require glucose for energy, but insulin is needed for it to exit the bloodstream and enter these cells. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and without it glucose remains the bloodstream. In a person with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces little to no insulin at all. Untreated, this insulin deficiency causes a massive accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream known as hyperglycemia. Type 1 diabetes usually develops in people under the age of 30 as opposed to type 2 diabetes, which occurs mostly in people over the age of 40. Type 1 diabetes was formerly called juvenile-onset diabetes, since many individuals are diagnosed during childhood or early teenage years. In the past decades, type 1 diabetes in children has risen significantly. According to a study carried out in Pennsylvania, the rate of type 1 diabetes in children 14 and under has increased by about 30 percent from 1985 ...

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...to be conducted and promising scientific advances could lead to the discovery of a cure or even a way to prevent it from developing in the first place.

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