Type 1 Diabetes
Formerly known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that can develop at any age, but is most often diagnosed in children and young adults. A person with this condition will need to take daily injections of insulin, as the pancreas no longer produces it. Left untreated, type 1 diabetes can lead to serious complications, such as damage to the kidneys, eyes, and nerves. Insulin treatment, physical activity, and a healthy diet are standard treatments for this condition.
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body does not make or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert glucose (sugar) and other food into energy. There are two main types -- type 1 and type 2 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes have a pancreas that doesn't produce enough insulin -- or stops producing it altogether. This means that without treatment sugar can build up in the blood. Therefore, people with type 1 diabetes need to have insulin shots on a regular basis to help keep their blood sugar as close to normal as possible.
Other Names for Type 1 Diabetes
To move away from basing the name of the type 1 diabetes on treatment (insulin-dependent diabetes) or age at onset (juvenile diabetes), in 1997, two organizations recommended a universal adoption of a more simplified terminology.
Cause of Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas that regulate blood glucose. A combination of genetic and environmental factors put people at increased risk for type 1 diabetes. Researchers are working to identify these factors and to stop the autoimmune process that destroys the pancreas.
Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but it most often occurs in children and young adults. Type 1 diabetes has an acute onset, with children and adolescents usually able to pinpoint when symptoms began.
Since the pancreas can no longer produce insulin, people with type 1 diabetes require daily injections of insulin for life. People with type 1 diabetes are at risk for long-term complications, such as damage to:
- Cardiovascular system
- Blood vessels