Type 1 Diabetes

Since half of all people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed during childhood or their early teens, type 1 diabetes used to be referred to as juvenile diabetes. But, in reality, type 1 diabetes can happen at any age. And type 1 diabetes is much rarer than type 2 diabetes in general, making up only 5% of all cases of diabetes. 


Insulin and type 1 diabetes  

In someone without diabetes, insulin, a naturally-occurring hormone in the body, is made by special cells in the pancreas called beta cells to help the body use sugar as fuel. The body constantly checks how much sugar is in the bloodstream. When blood sugar rises, the body tells the pancreas to release more insulin. 

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes little or no insulin, so the cells in the body cannot function properly. This usually happens gradually in people with type 2 diabetes, but with type 1 diabetes, symptoms tend to make themselves known very quickly and can often be severe enough to require hospitalization. 

In type 1 diabetes, the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas as if they were invading cells or viruses. This happens without symptoms or pain and is known as an autoimmune response. As a result, the pancreas makes little or no insulin, so the cells in the body don’t get fuel and cannot work the way they should. Over a period of months or years, the beta cells can stop working altogether. And when that happens, sugar builds up in the blood instead of being used as fuel. This can be harmful to the body in many ways and leads to the symptoms of diabetes. 

When you have type 1 diabetes, you must take insulin, by injection or pump, in order to survive. 


Type 1 diabetes symptoms

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes may include:

  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Feeling very tired


People with type 1 diabetes may also have problems with:

  • Infections of the skin, gums, or bladder
  • Scrapes or bruises healing slower than usual
  • Tingling or numbness in the limbs


What causes type 1 diabetes?

It is not known exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. It is believed in some cases that family history, viruses, or things you live with every day, like chemicals, may be involved. 


Type 1 diabetes treatment 

Treatment for type 1 diabetes includes taking insulin every day. Since there’s little to no insulin in the body, it has to be replaced. 

A background, or “basal” level of insulin is needed throughout the day and night to help the body produce energy. 

Short bursts of insulin, or “bolus” levels of insulin, are needed by the body at mealtime to cover the spikes in blood sugar that are caused by food. 

Basal-bolus insulin therapy combines these two. Taking NovoLog®, a “bolus” insulin, along with long-acting, or “basal” insulin, closely mimics the body's normal insulin release patterns. 

NovoLog® is taken at mealtime, with long-acting insulin being taken at night or in the morning (or both). NovoLog® can also be taken using an insulin pump. An insulin pump is worn 24/7. It releases a low level of NovoLog® throughout the day (a basal release) and extra doses of NovoLog® when you eat, to help provide the additional coverage you need at mealtime.

In addition to taking insulin, healthy eating and physical activity are also important for people with type 1 diabetes.

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