Type 1 Diabetes

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Type 1 diabetes facts

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  • Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the body stops making insulin. This causes the person's blood sugar to increase.
  • There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2.
    • In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is attacked by the immune system and then it cannot produce insulin.
    • In type 2 diabetes the pancreas can produce insulin, but the body can't utilize it.
  • Causes of type 1 diabetes are auto-immune destruction of the pancreatic beta cells. This can be caused viruses and infections as well as other risk factors. In many cases, the cause is not known. This means scientists don't know how to cure type 1 diabetes yet.
  • Risk factors for type 1 diabetes are family history, introducing certain foods too soon or too late to babies, exposure to toxins, and where you live (people living in northern countries are at higher risk for developing type 1 diabetes).
  • Symptoms of type 1 diabetes are
  • Sometimes, there are no significant symptoms.
  • Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed by blood tests. The level of blood sugar is measured, and then levels of insulin and antibodies can be measured to confirm type 1 vs. type 2 diabetes.
  • Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin and lifestyle changes. Specifically, meal planning to ensure carbohydrate intake matches insulin dosing.
  • Complications of type 1 diabetes are kidney disease, eye problems, heart disease, and nerve problems (diabetic neuropathy) such as loss of feeling in the feet. Poor wound healing can also be a complication of type 1 diabetes.
  • Type 1 diabetes can be prevented by avoiding risk factors, however, there is currently no cure and most cases of type 1 diabetes have no known cause.
  • The prognosis or life-expectancy for a person with type 1 diabetes is good if blood sugar control is kept within a healthy range. The life expectancy traditionally has been about 11 years less than average, but that is changing as the prevention of complications improves and technology such as insulin pumps makes it easier for people to keep their blood sugar in a healthy range.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/1/2015

Patient Comments

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Type 1 Diabetes - Experience Question: Please share your experience with type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you experience before being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes - Insulin Question: Please share your experience with different types of insulin and their ability to manage blood sugar levels.
Type 1 Diabetes - Diet Question: What foods help you maintain good blood sugar levels, and what foods seem to increase blood sugar levels?
Type 1 Diabetes - Pregnancy Question: Please share your experience with type 1 diabetes and pregnancy.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

Type 1 diabetes usually begins in childhood; however, it can occur in adults aged 30-40 years. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes may come on quickly and can include

  • drinking more water because of excessive thirst,
  • dry mouth,
  • fruity, bad breath,
  • fatigue, and
  • feeling hungrier than normal, even after eating a meal.