What is type 1 diabetes (T1D)?
T1D is a chronic autoimmune condition in which insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system.
What you need to know to better understand T1D
T1D is a chronic autoimmune condition in which insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. Insulin is the hormone made by the pancreas that allows the body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in food consumed for energy. The autoimmune response that harms beta cells usually starts months or even years before being diagnosed, but without causing any major symptoms.
T1D seems to have a genetic component and can be diagnosed early in life but also in adulthood. Its causes are not fully known, and there is currently no cure. People with T1D are dependent on injected or pumped insulin to survive.
Diagnosis of T1D occurs at the time that the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin for the body’s needs, causing blood sugars to rise. People with T1D monitor their blood sugar throughout the day and take insulin via multiple daily injections (MDI) or via an insulin pump.
T1D can occur in people of any age, and its causes are not fully known. Genetics plays a role, as the condition tends to run in families, but 85-90% of people who are diagnosed have no family history. What we do know is that diet or lifestyle don’t cause T1D, it isn’t contagious or something you can outgrow, and it’s not currently not preventable or curable.