Examining Potential Complications for Type 1 Diabetes

Effective management of blood glucose levels is essential for people with type 1 diabetes. Should blood sugar become too high or too low, it can have dangerous results. Every person’s situation is different.  Some people can use oral agents to control their diabetes, some use injections, and still others have insulin pumps. It is all about figuring out what works best for each individual.

A recent case study examined a 36-year-old gentleman who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 15 years ago. One of the challenges that he faces is that he is homeless and does not always have the necessary supplies to manage his diabetes. He was brought to the emergency room with hyperglycemia and possibly diabetic ketoacidosis.  He received daily insulin but did not take meal doses of fast-acting insulin (insulin aspart), only corrective doses to treat hyperglycemia.

The emergency room determined that he did not have diabetic ketoacidosis, which occurs when the body does not have enough insulin and starts breaking down fats and muscle for energy which releases ketones into the blood causing a chemical imbalance.  He was provided with a correct dosage of insulin to correct the hyperglycemia and prescribed three meals per day.  Since this was challenging given that he was homeless, a social worker helped him to make arrangements to stay with family and get medical assistance to afford supplies to manage his diabetes.

The medical staff was tasked with accurately determining the proper dose of insulin to treat the hyperglycemia as well as what his daily insulin needs were.  Basal insulin doses are about half of the daily requirement, and the rest is accounted for by bolus injections. Blood work was completed to determine whether or not he had diabetic ketoacidosis.

These are issues that people with type 1 diabetes must always be alert for. Understanding potential complications, how to identify warning signs, and how to treat these conditions is imperative. Researchers are always studying ways to better prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure type 1 diabetes. The Diabetes Research Connection supports early career scientists through funding for their research projects. To learn more, visit http://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

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