What is Type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a serious condition where your blood glucose (sugar) level is too high because your body can’t make a hormone called insulin.

This happens because your body attacks the cells in your pancreas that make the insulin, meaning you can’t produce any at all.

We all need insulin to live. It does an essential job. It allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and fuel our bodies.

When you have type 1 diabetes, your body still breaks down the carbohydrate from food and drink and turns it into glucose. But when the glucose enters your bloodstream, there’s no insulin to allow it into your body’s cells. More and more glucose then builds up in your bloodstream, leading to high blood sugar levels.

We’re still not sure what causes type 1 diabetes to develop. It’s got nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. But researchers and scientists around the world are working hard to find answers.

Before you get diagnosed with type 1, your body will be trying to get rid of the glucose through your kidneys. That makes you wee a lot and is one of the main symptoms of diabetes. Other signs you should look out for include feeling thirsty, going to the toilet a lot and losing weight without trying to.

The symptoms tend to come on quickly – over just a few days or weeks. This is especially true in children. That’s why it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the signs.


MyType1Diabetes puts participants in control of their diabetes by providing free, online information, advice and resources.

Get type 1 diabetes support today: http://mytype1diabetes.nhs.uk.

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