Type 1 diabetes happens when the body does not make enough insulin to move glucose from the blood to the cells. This causes it to build up in the blood instead of being used by the cells for energy.
Causes of type 1 are:
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It is more common in children and young adults, but it can happen at any age. It is also more common in people who have family members with it.
Other things that may raise the risk are:
Symptoms may be:
Ketoacidosis can happen when a person’s glucose gets very high. It can be deadly if it is not treated right away.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Diabetes is diagnosed with blood tests that check for high glucose levels. More than one test may be done.
These blood tests will also be done to find out whether it is type 1 or type 2:
The goal is to keep blood glucose levels at close to normal levels. This can be done with:
All people with type 1 need to take insulin to replace the insulin hormone that their body does not make. It can be given by injection, inhaler, or by a pump that gives it in small amounts during the day.
Pamlintide may also be given to keep glucose from going too high after eating.
Healthy habits can help manage type 1, such as:
A pancreatic islet cell transplant may be done in people who are not helped by other methods. It transplants islet cells from a donor to a person with type 1. The new cells can make insulin. Some people may no longer need insulin after the transplant. Not all care centers offer this treatment.
Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented.
American Diabetes Association
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Canadian Diabetes Association
Public Health Agency of Canada
American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes-2019. Diabetes Care. 2019. Jan; 42 (Suppl 1):S1-193.
Diabetes mellitus type 1. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/diabetes-mellitus-type-1-22 . Updated June 28, 2019. Accessed November 1, 2019.
Type 1 diabetes. American Diabetes Association website. Available at:
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Accessed November 1, 2019.
Type 1 Diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/type-1-diabetes. Updated July 2017. Accessed November 1, 2019.
9/11/2014 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/condition/diabetes-mellitus-type-1-22 : Tovote KA, Fleer J, et al. Individual mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and cognitive behavior therapy for treating depressive symptoms in patients with diabetes: results of a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2014;37(9):2427-2434.
Last reviewed September 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 11/1/2019