Type 1 diabetes develops because the
immune system destroys beta cells in a part of the pancreas called the
islet tissue. These beta cells produce insulin. So people
with type 1 diabetes can't make their own insulin.
The pancreas normally adjusts
the amount of insulin it makes based on your changing blood sugar. When you have diabetes, your insulin
injections can't control your blood sugar moment to moment, the way your pancreas
would. So you may have high and low blood sugar levels from time to
Causes of high blood sugar
Causes of high blood sugar include:
Not getting enough
Eating more food than usual.
Stress and being
ill (such as with severe flu) or having an infection, especially if you aren't
eating or drinking enough.
medicines that can raise blood sugar levels, such as
those for sleep, some decongestants, and
corticosteroids (such as prednisone).
Adolescence, because of hormone changes and rapid
Sometimes a person's blood sugar level rises greatly before he or she knows something is wrong. Because insulin isn't available, the cells in
the body are unable to get the sugar (glucose) they need for energy. The body
begins to break down fat and muscle for energy.
When fat is used for energy,
ketones—or fatty acids—are produced and enter the bloodstream. This causes the
diabetic ketoacidosis. This can be a life-threatening
Causes of low blood sugar
Causes of low blood sugar include:
Taking too much insulin.
or delaying a meal or snack.
Exercising more than usual without
eating enough food.
Drinking too much
alcohol, especially on an empty stomach.
medicines that can lower blood sugar, such as large amounts of aspirin
and medicines for mental disorders.
Starting your menstrual period,
because hormonal changes may affect how well insulin works.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
September 29, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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