Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar (glucose), starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.

Finding out you have diabetes is scary. But don't panic. Type 1 diabetes is serious, but people with diabetes can live long, healthy, happy lives.

Conditions & Treatment

In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, which is needed to take sugar (glucose) from the blood to the cells. You can learn more about these conditions and how to prevent them in this section. You will also find helpful information about insulin, diagnostic tests and tips on what to expect from your health care provider.

Hypoglycema - Hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose, can happen even during those times when you're doing all you can to manage your diabetes.

Hyperglycema - Hyperglycemia is a major cause of many of the complications that happen to people who have diabetes. For this reason, it's important to know what hyperglycemia is, what its symptoms are, and how to treat it.

Ketoacidosis - Ketoacidosis is a serious condition where the body has dangerously high levels of ketones -- or acids that build up in the blood -- and it can lead to diabetic coma (passing out for a long time) or even death.

Managing Your Blood Glucose - Keeping your blood glucose as close to normal as possible helps you feel better and reduces the risk of long-term complications of diabetes. Learn about checking your blood glucose, tight diabetes control, and an A1C test.

About Insulin and other drugs - In people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes insulin. The beta cells have been destroyed. They need insulin shots to use glucose from meals. Learn more about insulin and other drugs.

Insulin Pumps - Learn how you can use an insulin pump to help manage your diabetes.

Transplantation - Diabetes sometimes damages kidneys so badly that they no longer work. When kidneys fail, one option is a kidney transplant. There are also pancreas transplants, as well as islet cell transplants.

Related Conditions - Learn more about celiac disease, hemochromatosis and frozen shoulder, and how they relate to type 1 diabetes, in this section.

Complications

Having type 1 diabetes increases your risk for many serious complications. Some complications of type 1 diabetes include:

Heart Disease - People with diabetes have extra reason to be mindful of heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes carries an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and complications related to poor circulation.

Kidney Disease (Nephropathy)/Kidney Transplantation - Diabetes can damage the kidneys, which not only can cause them to fail, but can also make them lose their ability to filter out waste products. This is called nephropathy.

Eye Complications - Diabetes can cause eye problems and may lead to blindness. People with diabetes do have a higher risk of blindness than people without diabetes. Early detection and treatment of eye problems can save your sight.

Diabetic Neuropathy and Nerve Damage - One of the most common complications of diabetes is diabetic neuropathy. Neuropathy means damage to the nerves that run throughout the body, connecting the spinal cord to muscles, skin, blood vessels, and other organs.

Foot Complications - People with diabetes can develop many different foot problems. Foot problems most often happen when there is nerve damage in the feet or when blood flow is poor. Learn how to protect your feet by following some basic guidelines.

Skin Complications - As many as one-third of people with diabetes will have a skin disorder caused or affected by diabetes at some time in their lives. In fact, such problems are sometimes the first sign that a person has diabetes. Luckily, most skin conditions can be prevented or easily treated if caught early.

Gastroparesis and Diabetes - Gastroparesis is a disorder that affects people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Depression - Feeling down once in a while is normal. But some people feel a sadness that just won't go away. Life seems hopeless. Feeling this way most of the day for two weeks or more is a sign of serious depression.

Your Body's Well Being

Make it a priority to take good care of your body. The time you spend now on eye care, foot care and skin care, as well as your heart health and oral health, could delay or prevent the onset of dangerous diabetes complications later in life. In addition, one of the best things you can do for your body is to stop smoking.

Heart Disease and Stroke - People with diabetes have extra reason to be mindful of heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes carries an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and complications related to poor circulation.

Skin Care - As many as one-third of people with diabetes will have a skin disorder caused or affected by diabetes at some time in their lives. In fact, such problems are sometimes the first sign that a person has diabetes. Luckily, most skin conditions can be prevented or easily treated if caught early.

Foot Care - People with diabetes can develop many different foot problems. Foot problems most often happen when there is nerve damage in the feet or when blood flow is poor. Learn how to protect your feet by following some basic guidelines.

Eye Care - Diabetes can cause eye problems and may lead to blindness. People with diabetes do have a higher risk of blindness than people without diabetes. Early detection and treatment of eye problems can save your sight.

Oral Health & Oral Hygiene - If you have diabetes, you are at a higher risk for gum disease and other mouth-related problems. Learn more about maintaining good dental health.

Smoking - Kicking the smoking habit is hard, but worth the work. Tobacco has many bad health effects, particularly for people with diabetes. No matter how long you've smoked, your health will improve when you quit.

Alcohol - Alcohol is everywhere: at family gatherings, at cookouts, after the company softball game, and at parties. One very common question is "What would you like to drink?" If you have diabetes, what do you say?

Stress - Stress results when something causes your body to behave as if it were under attack. Sources of stress can be physical, like injury or illness. Or they can be mental, like problems in your marriage, job, health, or finances.

Common Concerns

When You're Sick - Being sick can make your blood glucose (sugar) level go up very high. It can also cause serious conditions that can put you in a coma. The best way to prevent a minor illness from becoming a major problem is to work out a plan of action for sick days ahead of time.

Flu & Pneumonia Shots - Having the flu can be dangerous for anyone. But it is extra risky for people with diabetes or other chronic health problems.

When You Travel - Planning a trip? Whether you're camping or cruising, you can go anywhere and do almost anything. It just takes a little planning ahead to handle your diabetes.

Tips for Emergency Preparedness - Recent concerns about terrorist attacks have simply increased our awareness of the need to be prepared if a disaster strikes. People with diabetes must consider proper diabetes care when they make emergency plans.

Anger - Diabetes is the perfect breeding ground for anger. Anger can start at diagnosis with the question, "Why me?" You may dwell on how unfair diabetes is: "I'm so angry at this disease! I don't want to treat it. I don't want to control it. I hate it!"

Depression - Feeling down once in a while is normal. But some people feel a sadness that just won't go away. Life seems hopeless. Feeling this way most of the day for two weeks or more is a sign of serious depression.

Denial - Denial is that voice inside repeating: "Not me." Most people go through denial when they are first diagnosed with diabetes. "I don't believe it. There must be some mistake," they say.

Discrimination - Diabetes should not be a cause of discrimination in the workplace, daycare centers, or public schools. Our Legal Advocacy division fights to ensure that disabilities rights laws protect people with diabetes.