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Diabetes happens in people of every age, every race, every shape and size. Type 1 usually affects children and young adults though. Once known as juvenile diabetes, only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. The rest have Type 2 diabetes.
With Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body regulate blood sugar (also called blood glucose). The body breaks down the carbohydrates we eat into blood sugar. Insulin moves blood sugar from the blood stream into cells throughout the body. Without blood sugar, cells are starved of the energy they need to work properly – which can lead to organ damage.
Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes can include:
People with Type 1 diabetes may also have problems with:
People diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes are prescribed insulin since their bodies don’t make it. With the help of insulin and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, active, healthy lives.
A healthy diet, regular exercise and not smoking are positive actions that can make a big difference, too.
Of course, working closely with your doctor, nurse and local diabetes group to keep your blood sugar level in check is vital.
While Type 1 diabetes can’t be cured, people diagnosed with the disease can live healthy and well when they take positive steps to manage it.
Originally published 2/29/2016; Revised 2021, 2023
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