What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes may also be known by a variety of other names, including the following:
- insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM)
- juvenile diabetes
- brittle diabetes
- sugar diabetes
There are two forms of type 1 diabetes:
- idiopathic type 1 diabetes – refers to rare forms of the disease with no known cause.
- 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, and the one generally referred to as type 1 diabetes. The information on this page refers to this form of type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in the US. Type 1 diabetes usually develops in children or young adults, but can start at any age.
What causes type 1 diabetes?
The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, but it is believed that genetic and environmental factors (possibly viruses) may be involved. The body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin allows glucose to enter the cells of the body to provide energy.
When glucose cannot enter the cells, it builds up in the blood, depriving the cells of nutrition. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections and regularly monitor their blood sugar levels.
Treatment for type 1 diabetes:
Specific treatment for type 1 diabetes will be determined by your physician based on:
- your age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the disease
- your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the disease
- your opinion or preference