Type 1 Diabetes
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is involved in regulating how the body converts sugar (glucose) into energy. People with type 1 diabetes need to take daily insulin shots and carefully monitor their blood glucose levels.
Type 1 diabetes is much less common than type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes can occur at any age, but usually first develops in childhood or adolescence. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5 - 10% of all diabetes cases.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes include:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Sudden weight loss
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurred vision
Warning Signs of Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) occurs when blood sugar (glucose) levels fall below normal. Patients with type 1 diabetes should be aware of these symptoms of hypoglycemia:
- Rapid heartbeat
It is important to quickly treat hypoglycemia and raise blood sugar levels by eating sugar, sucking on hard candy, or drinking fruit juice. Patients who are at risk for hypoglycemia should carry some sugar product, or an emergency glucagon injection kit, in case an attack occurs. In rare and worst cases, hypoglycemia can lead to coma and death. Regular blood sugar monitoring throughout the day can help you avoid hypoglycemia. Patients are also encouraged to wear a medical alert ID bracelet or necklace that states they have diabetes and that they take insulin.
Patients with Type 1 Diabetes Living Longer and Healthier Lives
Rates of serious complications among people with type 1 diabetes have decreased over the past several decades. Better control of blood sugar, new treatment strategies, and improved management of co-existing conditions such as high blood pressure appear to have contributed to this positive change.
Review Date: 05/05/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.