What is type 1 diabetes (T1D)?

What you need to know to better understand T1D

What is type 1 diabetes (T1D)?

What you need to know to better understand T1D

Type 1 diabetes is different than type 2.
It affects children and adults.
It is an autoimmune disease, and it means the person’s body can’t produce insulin.
There is no cure. Daily insulin injections are required to maintain blood sugar levels and to survive.
The body’s immune system kills the cells that make insulin in the pancreas.
There are over 40 different factors that can affect blood glucose levels. Even the most careful patient is at risk of blood sugarhighs and lows.
We don’t know what causes type 1 diabetes.
An average day means testing blood sugar at least 6 times and taking insulin 4 or more times.

T1D is a chronic autoimmune condition in which insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. Insulin is the hormone made by the pancreas that allows the body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in food consumed for energy. The autoimmune response that harms beta cells usually starts months or even years before being diagnosed, but without causing any major symptoms.

T1D seems to have a genetic component and can be diagnosed early in life but also in adulthood. Its causes are not fully known, and there is currently no cure. People with T1D are dependent on injected or pumped insulin to survive.

Diagnosis of T1D occurs at the time that the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin for the body’s needs, causing blood sugars to rise. People with T1D monitor their blood sugar throughout the day and take insulin via multiple daily injections (MDI) ) or via an insulin pump.

T1D can occur in people of any age, and its causes are not fully known. Genetics plays a role, as the condition tends to run in families, but 85-90% of people who are diagnosed have no family history. What we do know is that diet or lifestyle don’t cause T1D, it isn’t contagious or something you can outgrow, and it’s not currently not preventable or curable.