Type 1 Diabetes

  • Medical Author:
    Erica Oberg, ND, MPH

    Dr. Erica Oberg, ND, MPH, received a BA in anthropology from the University of Colorado, her doctorate of naturopathic medicine (ND) from Bastyr University, and a masters of public health (MPH) in health services research from the University of Washington. She completed her residency at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in ambulatory primary care and fellowship training at the Health Promotion Research Center at the University of Washington.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis

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.

Type 1 diabetes facts

  • 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

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