Type I Diabetes

From Health Facts
Jump to: navigation, search
Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-28 (EDT)

Type I Diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes is characterized by the body's inability to produce sufficient amount of insulin. In the vast majority of Type I Diabetic patients, insulin production is decreased due to autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that facilitates transportation of glucose into cells, when this is absent glucose levels can rise to dangerous levels. The onset of this disease is typically between 7-15 years, but may present at any age.[1] Type I Diabetes accounts for about 10% of all diabetes. [2]

Type I Diabetes
Causes Genetics, Dietary Factors, Stress, Infections
See Also Diabetes, Type II Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome
Books Books on Endocrine Diseases
Articles Articles on Endocrine Conditions
Article Type I Diabetes Mellitus, Vital Link; 2005 Winter

Naturopathic Assessment

The assessment of type I diabetes typically occurs due an abrupt change in a person's health, especially the young. It's onset is typically associated with key symptoms such as weight loss, increased thirst and urination and fatigue. The aim of a naturopathic assessment is to determine the factors that contributed to the abrupt change and to address accordingly.

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. Type I is often considered a genetic form of diabetes, yet other factors need to be considered especially if the onset of Type I Diabetes is later in life.

Check out this book Healing Diabetes: Complementary Naturopathic and Drug Treatments
Check out this book The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book: Protect Yourself and Your Family From Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Allergies - and More
Article Whole-fat Dairy Consumption Associated with Lower Metabolic Risk Factors and Lower Incidence of Diabetes, NMJ, [1], 2012 March



  • Stressful events early in life, such as death of a pet, conflict with a teacher, quarrels between parents, failure in a competition, etc. were associated with increased risk of Type I Diabetes.[6]


  • Gastrointestinal viral infections may trigger Type I Diabetes by increasing intestinal permeability or activating immune cells.[5]


  • Certain genes increase susceptibility to Type I Diabetes, however less than 10% of individuals with those genes actually develop this condition thus indicating the importance of environment and diet. [5]

Diagnostic Testing

Diabetes 1.jpg
  • Blood tests are generally used to diagnose Type I Diabetes.

Additional tests that are often used in the assessment or management of diabetes include Hemoglobin A1C (Hb1aC), Cholesterol Panel, Kidney Function Test, Amylase, Lipase and blood insulin levels, Liver Function Tests

  • Every 3 to 6 months
  • Blood glucose and Hemoglobin A1C levels are best checked every three months if the diabetes is not well controlled and every six months if it is controlled. If there are any concerns with heart or kidney health they are best monitored every three-to-six months as well.
  • Yearly Tests
  • Blood pressure, eye exam, dental cleaning and checkup and examination of the skin and sensitivity of the feet should be done on a yearly basis as part of diabetes management along with the the blood tests listed above.

Related Symptoms and Conditions

Type I diabetes is associated with other autoimmune disorders:[7]


Type I Diabetes generally starts with an abrupt onset of symptoms. Typically, there is a long asymptomatic period while beta cells are being destroyed. Once destruction reaches a certain threshold, the following symptoms develop quickly:[10]

  • weight loss
  • typically lean body build
  • increased urination (polyuria)
  • increased thirst (polydipsia)
  • increased hunger
  • fatigue
  • loss of feeling or tingling in the feet
  • blurry eyesight
  • urinary, genital or skin infections (bacterial or fungal).

Type I diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease which involves destruction of the pancreatic beta cells which results in absolute insulin deficiency and dependence on exogenous insulin for life.[10]


  • Diabetic ketoacidosis.[7]
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Kidney damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Eye damage, including cataracts or retinal disease

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Type I Diabetes is typically a chronic disease treated with lifelong exogenous insulin supplementation. However, naturopathic medicine can be used in conjunction with this medication to improve glucose control, quality of life, and prevent development of associated conditions.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.

Home Care

Home Care strategies include:

  • Blood Sugar Monitoring
  • Daily blood sugar monitoring is a critical step in the management of Type I Diabetes.
  • Recognize the symptoms for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and make sure you know how to treat them.
  • Learn how to adjust insulin and food when you exercise, when you're sick or as there are changes to your overall health.
  • Pay special attention to changes in blood sugar levels with any dietary changes.
  • Foot Care
Diabetes damages the blood vessels and the nerves, especially in the feet. This increases the likelihood that of foot injuries, infections and ulcers.
  • Proper and ongoing foot care and hygiene is important to prevent and/or manage any peripheral neuropathy, edema, or foot infections.
  • Check your feet on a daily basis, especially if you have any signs of decreased sensation or any numbness.
  • Get a foot exam by a qualified professional at least twice a year.
  • For many individuals diabetic shoes and socks are extremely beneficial.


Lifestyle recommendations include:

Article Low Carbohydrate Diet & Other Nutritional Considerations for Treatment and Prevention of Complications of Diabetes, Vital Link; 2005 Winter
Article Diabetes: Diet and lifestyle- based management- Update 2010, IHP, Nov/Dec 2010
  • Achieving optimal weight is beneficial in blood sugar regulation and prevention of complications.
Article Exercise & Diabetes: From Benefits to Precautions, Vital Link; 2005 Winter
  • Exercise is important to maintain body weight, muscle mass, and improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Adjusting insulin levels with exercise may be required.

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for Type I Diabetes include:

Article Energetic Viewpoint on Diabetes, Vital Link; 2005 Winter
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture In Traditional Chinese Medicine, conditions are diagnosed based on patterns of symptoms. Diabetes is not considered to be caused by the same process in each individual, but several processes are possible and would each be treated uniquely:
  • Lung-Stomach Heat Accumulation & Fluid Damage, Intense & Exuberant Stomach Heat, Qi & Yin Dual Vacuity, Kidney Yin Vacuity, Spleen-Stomach Qi Vacuity, Damp Heat Obstructing the Center, Spleen-Kidney Yang Vacuity.[14]


  1. Cydulka R, Maloney Jr GE (2009) Chapter 124: Diabetes Mellitus and Disorders of Glucose Homeostasis. In Rosen's Emergency Medicine. 7th Edition. Mosby.
  2. Canadian Diabetes Association [internet]. The prevalence and costs of diabetes [cited 2012 Feb]. Available from: http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/what/prevalence/
  3. Goldfarb MF (May 2008) Relation of time of introduction of cow milk protein to an infant and risk of type-1 diabetes mellitus. J Proteome Res;7(5):2165-7. PMID: 18410136
  4. Wahlberg J, Vaarala O, Ludvigsson J (Mar 2006) Dietary risk factors for the emergence of type 1 diabetes-related autoantibodies in 21/2 year-old Swedish children. Br J Nutr;95(3):603-8. PMID: 16578935
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Pizzorno Jr. Joseph E, Murray Michael T, Joiner-Bey Herb (2007) The Clinician's Handbook of Natural Medicine Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
  6. Vlajinac H, Sipetić S, Marinković J, Bjekić M, Kocev N, Sajić S (May 2006) The Belgrade childhood diabetes study - comparison of children with type 1 diabetes with their siblings. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol;20(3):238-43.PMID: 16629698.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Friedman M, McLellan A (2007) Healing Diabetes: Complementary Naturopathic and Drug Treatments CCNM Press.
  8. Ziegler AG, Schmid S, Huber D, Hummel M, Bonifacio E (Oct 2003) Early infant feeding and risk of developing type 1 diabetes-associated autoantibodies. JAMA;290(13):1721-8. PMID: 14519706
  9. Norris JM, Barriga K, Klingensmith G, Hoffman M, Eisenbarth GS, Erlich HA, Rewers M (Oct 2003) Timing of initial cereal exposure in infancy and risk of islet autoimmunity. JAMA;290(13):1713-20. PMID: 14519705
  10. 10.0 10.1 Krentz Andrew J (2000) Churchill's pocketbook of Diabetes. Harcourt Publishers Limited.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Gaby AR (2011) Nutritional Medicine Fritz Perlberg Publishing.
  12. Gupta S, Sharma TK, Kaushik GG, Shekhawat VP. (2011) Vitamin E supplementation may ameliorate oxidative stress in type 1 diabetes mellitus patients. Clin Lab;Vol57(5-6):379-86. PMID: 21755829
  13. Locke A (1998) The Family Guide to Homeopathy: The Safe Form of Medicine for the Future. Penguin.
  14. Flaws B, Sionneau P (2002) The Treatment of Modern Western Diseases with Chinese Medicine: A Textbook and Clinical Manual. Blue Poppy Press.