Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes was previously called insulin-dependent diabetes. This is because in people with Type 1 diabetes their pancreas fails to produce enough insulin due to the destruction of the cells that make insulin. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot enter the tissues and cells, and so the blood glucose level rises damagingly high. People with Type 1 diabetes are dependent on taking insulin every day – either in tablet form or injecting it.

Although there is plenty of glucose in the blood, it cannot enter the tissues and, because of this, it cannot be used as a fuel source. Instead, the body breaks down fats and protein to use as fuel. As a result, the person often loses weight very rapidly due to loss of fluid, an inability to use glucose as a fuel, loss of muscle as protein is broken down, and loss of glucose in the urine. A person with Type 1 diabetes should never stop taking their insulin, even when they are unwell and not eating. Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, although it most commonly begins in children and young adults.

Last modified: Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 7:03 PM