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What is type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce any insulin. It is an ‘auto-immune’ condition which means that insulin producing cells in the pancreas (called beta cells) are destroyed by the body’s own immune system. As a result the body does not produce any insulin. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin to manage their diabetes. 

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not yet known, however it is thought that certain environmental factors or viruses as well as genetic factors may have an impact. Unlike type 2 diabetes, it cannot be prevented. We also know that the development of type 1 diabetes is not linked with lifestyle, although maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important in helping to manage type 1 diabetes.

When does type 1 occur?

Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in childhood, however it can occur at any age.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes:

  • Passing more urine
  • Bedwetting (in children who previously didn't wet the bed during the night)
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Having cuts that heal slowly
  • Itching, skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Leg cramps

These symptoms may occur suddenly. If they do occur, see a doctor. Through a simple test, a doctor can find out if they’re the result of type 1 diabetes.

Is there a cure for type 1 diabetes?

Currently there is no cure for type 1 diabetes. However it can be managed by using insulin and those living with type 1 can and do, live long, active and healthy lives.