Type 1


Type 1 Diabetes Treatment in Olympia


What is type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic disease that inhibits the body from properly processing energy from food. The disease causes the immune system to attack the pancreas, the part of the body that produces insulin, the hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to create energy. When this insulin-producing body part is unable to function properly, patients must balance their insulin levels with injections throughout the day.

Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, which is a more common type of diabetes, occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin.

What causes type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is believed to be caused by genetic factors or environmental triggers (such as exposure to certain viruses), and can develop in children or adults of any age. T1D is not triggered by diet or lifestyle, and unfortunately, there are not currently any known methods to avoid or cure the disease. However, with proper treatment, type 1 diabetes can be effectively managed long-term.

What are the risk factors for type 1 diabetes?

Some of the known risk factors for type 1 diabetes include:

  • Genetics – certain genes indicate an increased likelihood of developing T1D
  • Family history – those with parents or siblings who have T1D have an increased risk of developing the disease
  • Age – T1D can develop at any time in someone’s life, but there are two peak age ranges—children between the ages of 4-7 and 10-14
  • Geography – rates of T1D tend to increase in those who live further from the equator

What are the symptoms of type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes symptoms may include:

  • Extreme fatigue / weakness
  • Increased thirst or dehydration
  • Sudden, unintended weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Bedwetting in children
  • Extreme hunger
  • Mood swings / irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Rapid heart rate

How is type 1 diabetes diagnosed?

Shawna Purcell, MD can make a type 1 diabetes diagnosis by evaluating a patient’s symptoms, risk factors, and by performing one or more of the following tests:

  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test – measures the percentage of blood that is attached to blood sugar levels for 2-3 months prior to testing, indicating T1D if levels are higher than 6.5%
  • Random blood sugar test – evaluates blood sugar levels at any time, despite what a patient has eaten, suggesting T1D if blood sugar is over 200 mg/dL and other symptoms are present
  • Fasting blood sugar test – after an overnight fast, evaluates blood sugar levels, and indicates T1D when blood sugar is higher than 125 mg/dL

How is type 1 diabetes treated?

While there is no cure for the disease, there are various ways to control type 1 diabetes symptoms and avoid the potentially life-threatening risks associated with T1D. We offer personalized type 1 & 2 diabetes classes as part of our diabetes education programdesigned to help our patients and their loved ones develop a better understanding of the disease and the available treatment options.

Type 1 diabetes treatments may include:

There are also certain types of foods that should be eaten more and foods to avoid if you have T1D. Type 1 diabetes diet adjustments may include:

  • Lower unhealthy fat intake – T1D increases the risk of heart disease, and consuming saturated fats also increases your risk
  • Increase fiber intake – fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help control blood sugar
  • Monitor carbohydrate intake & minimize consumption of refined carbohydrates – T1D will require learning how to count the amount of carbohydrates in the foods you eat so that you can give yourself enough insulin to properly metabolize those carbohydrates

Our medical team includes registered dietitians and a diabetes educator who are here to help guide patients with T1D. Our diabetes specialists will work with you to establish a treatment program, healthy eating plan and personalized exercise plan that works with your lifestyle.

If you have type 1 diabetes or symptoms that may indicate T1D, it is important to see a doctor who specializes in diabetes and weight loss in order to access the diabetes education, tools, and guidance needed to manage your condition. Shawna Purcell, MD is home to a team of medical experts with extensive backgrounds in diabetes and weight loss services. Call 360-596-4614 today or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment now.

Request Appointment

If you're a current patient, please do not use this as a form of communication.

Your request has been submitted!

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Thank you for signing up!