Advertisement

What is type 1 diabetes?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Type 1 diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone required to produce energy. Although it may develop at any age, type 1 diabetes is also referred to as juvenile diabetes, as it usually develops during adolescence. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition that must be managed daily with insulin treatments. However, with recent improvements in care, those with type 1 diabetes can live productive, healthy lives.

Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in children. It is also called juvenile onset diabetes mellitus or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. In this type, your pancreas does not make enough insulin and you have to take insulin injections for the rest of your life.

Diabetes affects how the body uses a type of sugar called glucose for energy. There are two main types of diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes can't make enough insulin because the cells in the body that make insulin have been destroyed. Insulin enables glucose to enter the cells. Because there is not enough insulin, glucose builds up in the blood and the cells don't get the energy they need. People with type 1 diabetes have to take replacement insulin. 

Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called insulin-dependent diabetes and previously known as juvenile diabetes, is a condition in which the pancreas doesn't produce enough—or any—insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that your body needs to let sugar (glucose) into your cells to produce energy. Type 1 diabetes usually develops during childhood or adolescence, but it can occur in adults.

If you notice that you feel very thirsty, urinate frequently, feel extremely hungry, are losing weight, feel fatigued or experience blurred vision, talk to your healthcare provider. These can all be symptoms of diabetes. If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need insulin therapy.

In people with type 1 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin. This is because most of the cells of the pancreas that make insulin have been destroyed by the immune system. Eventually, all of the cells that make insulin are destroyed and no insulin is produced. That is why type 1 diabetes is also called an autoimmune disorder. People with type 1 diabetes must take injections of insulin in order to live.

Type 1 diabetes is also called immune-mediated diabetes. It is a form of diabetes that tends to develop before age 30 but may occur at any age. It’s usually caused when the immune system attacks the beta cells of the pancreas and the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. People who have type 1 diabetes must take insulin to survive.

Continue Learning about Diabetes Type 1

Why Is There No Cure for Type 1 Diabetes?
Why Is There No Cure for Type 1 Diabetes?
How Does Food Affect People With Diabetes?
How Does Food Affect People With Diabetes?
How Is Gastroparesis Related to Diabetes?
How Is Gastroparesis Related to Diabetes?

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.