Diabetes Type1 develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body have been destroyed and the body is unable to produce any insulin.
Insulin production becomes inadequate for the control of blood glucose levels due to the gradual destruction of beta cells in the pancreas. This destruction progresses without notice over time until the mass of these cells decreases to the extent that the amount of insulin produced is insufficient.
Type 1 diabetes typically appears in childhood or adolescence, but its onset is also possible in adulthood.
When it develops later in life, diabetes type1 can be mistaken initially for diabetes type2 . Correctly diagnosed, it is known as latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood.
Causes of diabetes type1
The gradual destruction of beta cells in the pancreas that eventually results in the onset of diabetes type1 is the result of autoimmune destruction. The immune system turning against the body's own cells is possibly triggered by an environmental factor exposed to people who have a genetic susceptibility.
Although the mechanisms of diabetes type1 etiology are unclear, they are thought to involve the interaction of multiple factors:
Life with diabetes type1
Susceptibility genes - some of which are carried by over 90% of patients with diabetes type1. Some populations - Scandinavians and Sardinians, for example - are more likely to have susceptibility genes
Autoantigens - proteins thought to be released or exposed during normal pancreas beta cell turnover or injury such as that caused by infection. The autoantigens activate an immune response resulting in beta cell destruction
Viruses - coxsackievirus, rubella virus, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus and retroviruses are among those that have been linked to diabetes type1
Diet - infant exposure to dairy products, high nitrates in drinking water and low vitamin D intake have also been linked to the development of diabetes type1.
Diabetes Type 1 always requires insulin treatment and an insulin pump or daily injections will be a lifelong requirement to keep blood sugar levels under control. The condition used to be known as insulin-dependent diabetes
After the diagnosis of diabetes type1, health care providers will help patients learn how to self-monitor via finger stick testing, the signs of hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia and other diabetic complications. Most patients will also be taught how to adjust their insulin doses
As with other forms of diabetes, nutrition and physical activity and exercise are important elements of the lifestyle management of the disease.