Type 1 Diabetes
Understanding the Disease
Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin.Normally, beta cells in the pancreas produce insulin, a hormone that allows an individual to get energy from food. In T1D, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells.
Although the causes of T1D are not yet fully understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Onset of T1D has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. T1D is not preventable, and, at present, there is no cure.
Living with a life-threatening disease presents many challenges, and life expectancy for those with T1D may be reduced by as much as 15 years.
Every day, people with T1D must:
- Weigh and measure all their food
- Take extra carbohydrates for all activities
- Do four to six finger pokes to check blood sugar (glucose) levels
- Take two to three insulin needles or wear an insulin pump to control glucose levels in their blood