Type 1 Diabetes

This used to be called insulin dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes. However this was confusing as many mature people with Type 2 diabetes need insulin to manage their diabetes. While Type 1 diabetes can and does occur at any age, it usually affects children and young adults. It is the least common form of diabetes, with just 10-15% of all people with diabetes having Type 1 diabetes.

In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce insulin because the cells that actually make the insulin have been destroyed by the bodyís own immune system. This insulin must be replaced. Therefore people with Type 1 diabetes must have insulin every day to live. While insulin can only be injected at this time, other ways of getting it may be possible in the future.

Who is most likely to get Type l diabetes?

We donít yet know the exact cause of Type 1 diabetes but we do know it has a strong family link. However it can only occur when something such as a viral infection triggers the immune system to destroy the insulin-making cells in the pancreas. This is called an autoimmune reaction. While the cause of Type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with lifestyle, a healthy lifestyle is very important in helping to manage the condition.

Can Type 1 diabetes be prevented or cured?

While a great deal of research is being done, at this stage nothing can be done to prevent or cure Type 1 diabetes.

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