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Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which your immune system destroys insulin-making cells in your pancreas. These are called beta cells. The condition is usually diagnosed in children and young people, so it used to be called juvenile diabetes.

A condition called secondary diabetes is like type 1, but your beta cells are wiped out by something else, like a disease or an injury to your pancreas, rather than by your immune system.

Both of these are different from type 2 diabetes, in which your body doesn’t respond to insulin the way it should.


Type 1 diabetes signs and symptoms can appear relatively suddenly and may include:

  • Extreme thirst

  • Increased hunger (especially after eating)

  • Dry mouth

  • Upset stomach and vomiting

  • Frequent urination

  • Unexplained weight loss, even though you’re eating and feel hungry

  • Fatigue

  • Blurry vision

  • Heavy, laboured breathing (your doctor may call this Kussmaul respiration)

  • Frequent infections of your skin, urinary tract, or vagina

  • Crankiness or mood changes

  • Bedwetting in a child who’s been dry at night

Signs of an emergency with type 1 diabetes include:

  • Shaking and confusion

  • Rapid breathing

  • Fruity smell to your breath

  • Belly pain

  • Loss of consciousness (rare)


People who have type 1 diabetes can live long, healthy lives. You’ll need to keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels. Your doctor will give you a range that the numbers should stay within. Adjust your insulin, food, and activities as necessary.

Everyone with type 1 diabetes needs to use insulin shots to control their blood sugar.

When your doctor talks about insulin, they’ll mention three main things:

  • "Onset" is how long it takes to reach your bloodstream and begin lowering your blood sugar.

  • "Peak time" is when insulin is doing the most work in terms of lowering your blood sugar.

  • "Duration" is how long it keeps working after onset.

Several types of insulin are available.

  • Rapid-acting starts to work in about 15 minutes. It peaks about 1 hour after you take it and continues to work for 2 to 4 hours.

  • Regular or short-acting gets to work in about 30 minutes. It peaks between 2 and 3 hours and keeps working for 3 to 6 hours.

  • Intermediate-acting won’t get into your bloodstream for 2 to 4 hours after your shot. It peaks from 4 to 12 hours and works for 12 to 18 hours.

  • Long-acting takes several hours to get into your system and lasts about 24 hours.

Self Care :

  • A diabetic diet

  • Nutrition counselling

  • Carbohydrate counting and Physical exercise


Type 1 diabetes can lead to other problems, especially if it isn’t well-controlled. Complications include:

  • Cardiovascular disease. Diabetes can put you at higher risk of blood clots, as well as high blood pressure and cholesterol. These can lead to chest pain, heart attack, stroke, or heart failure.

  • Skin problems. People with diabetes are more likely to get bacterial or fungal infections. Diabetes can also cause blisters or rashes.

  • Gum disease. A lack of saliva, too much plaque, and poor blood flow can cause mouth problems.

  • Pregnancy problems. Women with type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of early delivery, birth defects, stillbirth, and preeclampsia.

  • Retinopathy. This eye problem happens in about 80% of adults who have had type 1 diabetes for more than 15 years. It’s rare before puberty, no matter how long you’ve had the disease. To prevent it -- and keep your eyesight -- keep good control of blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides.

  • Kidney damage. About 20% to 30% of people with type 1 diabetes get a condition called nephropathy. The chances go up over time. It’s most likely to show up 15 to 25 years after the onset of diabetes. It can lead to other serious problems like kidney failure and heart disease.

You can take steps to keep from getting complications.

  • Do your best to keep your blood sugar under control.

  • Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol.

  • Eat well and exercise.

  • If you smoke, quit.

  • Take care of your feet and teeth.

  • Have regular medical, dental, and vision exams.

Be more physically active. There are many benefits to regular physical activity.
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