Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile onset or insulin dependent diabetes (IDDM), develops when your body’s own immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that are responsible for producing insulin. These insulin-producing cells are therefore destroyed which leads to a state of insulin deficiency. Sugar levels in the blood stream are controlled by insulin. Without insulin, high levels of sugar stay in the blood and diabetes develops.
Type 1 diabetes develops usually over a few weeks, and symptoms are normally very obvious. It is a life-long condition and usually occurs in children and young adults however it can still occur at any age.
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, although many consider that it is a combination of both genetic predisposition and environmental factors such as viral infections. If you have a blood relative with diabetes then you are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes, but this is not always the case.
Can type 1 diabetes be cured?
Currently, there is no cure for type 1 diabetes; however, if you are appropriately being treated with insulin your condition can be controlled very effectively. Research is currently ongoing to try to find a cure for this condition.
People with type 1 diabetes are controlled only with insulin therapy, delivered either via multiple syringe injections subcutaneously (under the skin) or through an insulin pump.
People with type 1 diabetes that have not been diagnosed can become sick very quickly with very high levels of sugar and ketones in their bloodstream. They might go into coma due to dehydration; therefore, these symptoms need to be managed urgently in the hospital. After using insulin therapy and managing the dehydration the patient will go back to his/her normal health very quickly and subsequently be continually managed with insulin treatment at home.
If you have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes you have to take your insulin treatment every day as directed by your doctor to manage your blood sugar levels. Besides insulin therapy, you will need to regularly check your blood sugar levels, follow a healthy food plan, and include a regular amount of physical activity in your daily life.