What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Your body gets energy by making glucose from foods with carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, milk, and fruit. To use this glucose, your body needs insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body control the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood.

Type 1 diabetes (juvenile) is a disease in which the pancreas has been shut down by the immune system and no longer produces insulin. If a person has Type 1 diabetes, the normal regulatory system that regulates blood sugar levels does not work. Glucose builds up in the blood instead of being used for energy.

The cause of the Type 1 diabetes remains unknown. However, it is not preventable and it is not caused by eating too much sugar or not jogging enough. The body’s defense system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas by mistake, but we don’t know why.

A person with type 1 must treat the disease by taking insulin either by injections or an insulin pump.


Type 1 is different from Type 2 diabetes, which is a resistance to insulin often caused by lifestyle choices, such as poor diet and lack of exercise. Type 2 gets a lot of attention in the media, in part because it’s preventable and manageable, with a moderated diet and regular exercise. But Type 1 isn’t caused by lifestyle. You can’t prevent it, or manage it, by eating less and jogging more.

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