Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

This post is dedicated to my little niece, named Coral, who lives with type 1 diabetes. She’s also the star of the comic!

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (DM) occurs due to pancreatic beta cell destruction leading to an absence of insulin production. It most commonly develops in childhood or adolescence but can occur throughout adulthood. Type 1 DM is typically an autoimmune process (Type 1A) but can also be idiopathic (Type 1B). One-third of the susceptibility to autoimmune β cell destruction may be attributed to genes and two-thirds to environmental factors.

Patients may present with polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia, and weight loss. Blurry vision, postural hypotension, and paresthesias may also be seen.

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is an acute complication resulting in abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, rapid deep breaths (Kussmaul respirations), and a fruity breath odor due to exhaled acetone. Left untreated, DKA progresses to coma and death.