What is Type 1 Diabetes?

To be able to answer the question: "what is type 1 diabetes", there must first be an understanding of what is diabetes.


Type 1 Diabetes is insulin dependent

The term diabetes usually refers to diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes mellitus is a disorder where there are abnormally high blood glucose levels.
This is usually as a result of the body's inability to utilize insulin or to produce insulin in enough quantities for glucose to be metabolized (used).
That is when the glucose builds up in the blood and the only way to get rid of it is via the kidneys.
Mellitus literally means "sweet urine".

One category of diabetes is insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.(IDDM) Type 1 diabetes falls into this group.
Diabetes is classified as Type 1 when the body does not produce insulin and is dependent on insulin from a source outside the body.

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is when the pancreas loses its ability to produce insulin.
It happens when the body's own immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. Therefore, it is an autoimmune disease.
Destroyed cells will not ever make the hormone insulin again.

It has not been established yet, as to why this happens. However it is thought to be in connection with genes, though having the right gene is not enough.
Something else triggers the condition (in those with the gene), the current school of thought is that it is probably a virus.

Glucose is the major source of energy needed to fuel the body's functions. Your body breaks down the foods you eat into glucose and other nutrients, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream.
Cells need this energy source to function. However the cells do not give access freely, the glucose requires a "key" to open the cell "door" and enter.
Insulin provides this "key" that allows the glucose access to the cells.

Therefore, if there are no insulin, then glucose will not be used by the cells. This results in that the glucose stays in the bloodstream and the level of sugar in the blood is higher than normal.
High blood sugar levels can cause a number of health problems.

Further information on Type 1 Diabetes.


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