What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus type one, is a medical condition characterized by difficulties with producing insulin. It can range from mild to more severe forms, and it does require medical treatment. While type 1 diabetes cannot be cured, it can be managed, and many diabetics live healthy, normal lives. Anyone who has recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes should talk to his doctor extensively about all options and solutions. Diabetics can be doctors, marathon runners, and anything else they want to become, as long as they take care of themselves.

Formerly, type 1 diabetes was known as juvenile diabetes, since it tends to emerge in early childhood or adolescence. Adults may be diagnosed with the condition as well, however, so it is not restricted to youths. It also appears to be most common among people of Northern European descent. The onset of type 1 diabetes is often sudden, and it appears to be related to genetic factors and disease, meaning that it is not preventable through diet and exercise. Eating a healthy diet and exercising are advisable anyway, however, as they will help people to live longer, healthier lives.


Most commonly, type 1 diabetes is characterized by an inability to make insulin in the pancreas. Often, this is caused by an autoimmune attack in which the immune system actually assaults the pancreas, causing permanent damage. Since insulin helps the body to absorb glucose safely, a lack of insulin or inability to use it can be very dangerous. When untreated, the condition can cause death, but it is also characterized by optical problems, circulatory system issues, and heart conditions. Diabetics can experience comas in extreme cases, with lethargy, constant hunger, thirst, and frequent urination being much more common.

When diabetes mellitus is diagnosed, there are a number of ways to address the situation. Many doctors try to help regulate blood sugar and general health with diet and exercise. Type 1 diabetes is insulin dependent, which means that the patient will need to take supplemental insulin, usually in the form of injections, to stay healthy. Patients diagnosed as brittle diabetics experience an extreme form of insulin dependence, characterized by wild swings in blood sugar which result in a need for constant monitoring and multiple types of insulin.

A diagnosis of diabetes is far from a death sentence, since the condition is manageable, although it does require hard work and commitment from the patient. Diabetics need to learn to take care of their bodies, and many doctors recommend classes and support groups for newly diagnosed patients. Working with a nutritionist and being among fellow diabetics can make type 1 diabetes seem much less intense and overwhelming.



Discuss this Article

Post 2

Generally, at most, within 24 hours of not receiving insulin, a person with Type 1 D can/will enter a coma, and/or have a seizure, and if untreated, will in fact die. There is a huge difference between Type 1 and 2 and this is clearly understated in this informative but perhaps naïve article.

Type 2, especially early on, can be eliminated with proper diet and exercise. No diet/exercise adjustments will cure Type 1. It's a lifelong sentence that, although treatable, is significantly more dangerous to anyone.

A Type 1 is totally (100 percent) dependent on the artificial injection of insulin - completely independent of one's own body after the "honeymoon phase," where the final cells in the pancreas once and forever

are killed and stop (forever) making insulin.

Most important to note is that if a person with Type 1 D "goes low" (generally blood sugar levels below 50) during their sleep, without a monitor measuring their potentially dangerously low blood sugar, they can and will go unconscious and, without intervention from someone or something else, will die. Simply put, you can go to sleep, at any age with Type 1 D, and never again wake up.

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