Type 1 Diabetes
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious disease, which, if not controlled,
can be life threatening. It is often associated with
long-term complications that can affect every system and
part of the body. Diabetes can contribute to eye
disorders and blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney
failure, amputation, and nerve damage. It can affect
pregnancy and cause birth defects, as well.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and
Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the American
Diabetes Association, diabetes affects an estimated 15.7
million people in the United States.
There are three main main types of diabetes that
require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare
- type 1 diabetes
- type 2 diabetes
- gestational diabetes
What is type 1 diabetes (diabetes mellitus)?
Type 1 diabetes is also known as diabetes mellitus,
insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), juvenile
diabetes, brittle diabetes, or sugar diabetes. There are
two forms of type 1 diabetes:
- idiopathic type 1 - used to refers to
rare forms of the disease with no known cause,
recently it has been learned it is caused by
- immune-mediated diabetes - an autoimmune
disorder in which the body's immune system destroys,
or attempts to destroy, the cells in the pancreas
that produce insulin. Immune-mediated diabetes is
the most common form of type 1 diabetes.
What causes type 1 diabetes (diabetes mellitus)?
The cause of type 1 diabetes is rotavirus, enterovirus
studies are provided below at the end of this page.
This auto-immune disease results from the body's
failure to produce insulin, the hormone that allows
glucose to enter the cells of the body to provide fuel.
This is the result of an autoimmune process in which the
body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin
producing cells of the pancreas.
When glucose cannot enter the cells, it builds up in
the blood and the body's cells literally starve to
death. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily
insulin injections and regularly monitor their blood
What are the signs and symptoms of type 1
The following are the most common symptoms for type 1
diabetes, however, each individual may experience
Type 1 diabetes often appears suddenly, and signs and
symptoms may include:
- high levels of sugar in the blood when tested
- high levels of sugar in the urine when tested
- unusual thirst
- frequent urination
- extreme hunger but loss of weight
- blurred vision
- nausea and vomiting
- extreme weakness and tiredness
- irritability and mood changes
In children, symptoms may be similar to those of
having the flu.
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes may resemble other
conditions or medical problems. Consult your physician
for a diagnosis.
Please go to the next
page for the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune