Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes, most frequently affects young people, although it can occur at any age. Approximately three-quarters of all people newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes are under the age of 18.

With Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces too little, or no insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot use the glucose that comes from food and this causes the blood sugars to become very high. The body begins to use fat as a source of fuel, which results in the production of ketones (fatty acids) that accumulate in the body, giving rise to acute complications.

The cause is not fully understood, but it seems to be largely hereditary, though viral infections and hypersensitive reactions may also be important factors. A primary risk factor for Type 1 diabetes is having a parent or sibling who also has Type 1. About 10% of all people with diabetes have Type 1.


Symptoms associated with the onset of Type 1 diabetes include:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive hunger
- Weight loss
- Irritability
- Fatigue and weakness
- Nausea and vomiting


The treatment care plan involves daily insulin injections, balanced meals and snacks at regular times, and an exercise plan.

People with Type 1 diabetes must inject the hormone daily. If taken orally insulin is broken down by digestive enzymes. The development of new devices with thinner needles has made self-injection much easier. The most important factor to be aware of is the timing of meals with insulin. Daily exercise or increased activity, and self-monitoring of blood sugars are necessary. It is extremely important to become educated in and stay informed in diabetes nutrition management.

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