Is type 1 diabetes serious?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Type 1 diabetes can cause serious complications if left untreated. It is important to recognize the early warning signals, such as increased thirst and urination, and to see your doctor when these symptoms occur. If diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you will need to stabilize your blood sugar levels on a daily basis and follow your doctor's treatment plan. If your blood sugar levels get too low or too high, serious complications can occur. These complications include cardiovascular disease, stroke, nerve damage and others. But, with proper management, you can maintain a healthy, active life.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Type 1 diabetes is a serious disease because we all need the hormone insulin to live, and those with type 1 diabetes make very little or none of it. Watch the video to learn more about type 1 diabetes.

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Type 1 diabetes is serious. There is no cure, and it requires constant careful self-management and good medical care.

Type 1 diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own cells—in this case the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. Formerly called juvenile diabetes, it usually begins in childhood, adolescence or young adulthood, and it may be difficult to manage for young people. But learning how to monitor your blood sugar and keep it on an even keel is very important. It can help prevent or minimize the common complications of diabetes, including heart attack, stroke, eye conditions, foot problems, wound-healing issues and sexual dysfunction.

Advances in treatment options have led to dramatic decreases in the rates of complications associated with type 1 diabetes. Today, it is possible to reduce swings in blood sugar (glucose) levels and get to your goal A1c level while decreasing episodes of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. There are many different approved treatments available for type 1 diabetes today, including fast and long-acting insulin analogs, pumps, pens and continuous glucose monitors. In order to live a healthy life with type 1 diabetes, you must have access to these effective drugs and devices and receive guidance and support by a knowledgeable healthcare professional.

Type 2 diabetes is now considered an extremely serious condition associated with a very high rate of heart disease. In fact, it is estimated that four out of five people with type 2 diabetes will die from cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes)—and not the eye, kidney and nerve disease that we commonly associate with diabetes complications.

This content originally appeared in the Taking Control of Your Diabetes newsletter on

Continue Learning about Diabetes Type 1

Everything You Need to Know About Type 1 Diabetes
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.