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Get on Track with Better Living

Find information, tips, and resources on managing your diabetes

Live a healthier, fuller life by learning more about the types of diabetes, potential complications, and ways to receive insurance coverage.

Type 1 Diabetes: The Facts

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes, also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes, juvenile diabetes and diabetes Type 1, is a life-threatening condition. This chronic disease can affect anyone at any age; however, it's usually diagnosed during childhood or young adulthood. It is characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood due to an inability to produce insulin. Over time, high glucose levels can lead to other serious health conditions like kidney failure and blindness.

Diabetes Type 1 Symptoms

Type 1 diabetes symptoms include excessive thirst, extreme hunger, fatigue, blurred eyesight, numbness or tingling in the feet, unexplained weight loss, and frequent urination. It's important to note that these symptoms are caused by high blood sugar. Rapid breathing, dry mouth or skin, flushing of the face, nausea or vomiting, and stomach pain are other diabetes Type 1 symptoms.

Although Type 1 diabetes symptoms occur suddenly, recognizing the symptoms of low blood sugar can prevent serious repercussions like faintness or seizure. These symptoms include headache, feeling hungry, nervousness, heart palpitations, shaking, sweating, and general weakness.


In addition to asking the question, "What is type 1 diabetes," many people want to know what triggers the disease. Although research has provided little information as to what causes diabetes, experts believe genetics and autoimmune disorders can have an effect. These factors may help explain why a diabetic's system attacks and destroys cells that produce insulin.


Your body uses glucose to produce energy. Since this process requires insulin, diabetics who are unable to produce insulin on their own must receive the hormone using a different method. Insulin can either be injected or released into the body via an insulin pump. If you've been recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, your doctor may admit you into the hospital until your glucose levels are under control.

Once you have been released from the hospital, you may have to pay frequent visits to your doctor until you have become adept at managing your glucose levels on your own. Although you'll be in charge of your treatment, it's important to follow through with any suggestions made by your doctor, dietitian, and diabetes educator.

In addition to taking insulin regularly, diet and exercise can help manage your diabetes. Eating a balanced diet and following a regular daily schedule will make it easier for you to control the disease. With the help of licensed dietician, you can develop a nutritional meal plan.

Regular exercise can lower blood glucose levels by improving insulin sensitivity. Although physical activity can be beneficial for diabetics, excessive exercise may result in dangerously low blood glucose levels. For this reason, your exercise program should be approved and monitored by your doctor.

Although Type 1 diabetes is a serious disease, it can be successfully managed with medication, diet, and exercise. Talk to your doctor if you believe you may be at risk for diabetes. He or she will be able to determine whether or not a blood test is needed.