Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes means that the body no longer makes insulin. Because of this, glucose (sugar) that is consumed through food you eat cannot be used for energy or stored for later use. Type 1 diabetes and its symptoms come on quickly. It occurs most often in young people under the age of 20 but can occur at any age. Of those with diabetes, 10-20% has type 1 diabetes. The cause of this disease is not always clear. Some theories are that a virus or your body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Whatever the cause, you must take insulin shots to live.
Food and Insulin
Most of the food you eat turns into glucose and enters the blood. The rise in blood glucose after a meal signals the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas. It is needed to move glucose into the cells. Insulin opens the cell walls and allows glucose to enter. Once inside the cells, glucose is burned for energy. Glucose is the fuel that your body needs to function well.
Symptoms of High Blood Sugar
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
- A1C test result greater than or equal to 6.5% (See Health Facts for You: A1C Test and the Estimated Average Glucose)
- Fasting blood glucose greater than or equal to 126 mg/dl ("fasting" means nothing to eat for at least 8 hours before test)
- Symptoms of diabetes and blood glucose of 200 mg/dl or higher
Insulin will be required for you to live since your body does not make it on its own. You will need several shots a day. Knowing about diabetes and how it’s treated will help you stay healthy. You first need to learn how to check your blood sugars at home and how to give insulin. Learn about eating healthy and how to balance insulin, meals and exercise. You must know all you can about how to live with diabetes so you can keep your blood sugar levels controlled. See your health care team who can help screen for problems.
The main risk factor is having a family member with type 1 diabetes. Males and females have an equal chance of getting this disease. It is more common in whites than nonwhites.
Diabetes Care is a Team Effort
You are the most important person on the team because diabetes care and blood sugar control is really up to you! Your doctor, nurse educator and dietician will help you learn about taking care of yourself. Later you will add your dentist, eye doctor and maybe even a foot doctor to your team, as well as a counselor, and someone to help you with an exercise plan. Don’t forget to include family members and friends who can support you.
American Diabetes Association (2012). Clinical Practice Recommendations 2012. Diabetes Care, 35(S1).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011). National Diabetes Fact Sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and pre-diabetes in the United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 03/12/2012
Copyright © 03/12/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5602
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