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Type 1 diabetes - Diabetes and - Insulin - Symptoms of type 1

What exactly IS type 1 diabetes?  Do I have diabetes type 1? We have all heard of it, so what exactly IS type 1 diabetes?

Diabetes type 1 is the condition where the person can no longer produce insulin for themselves.  This is an autoimmune response, where the body has destroyed the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

Type 1 Diabetes is commonly found in people under the age of 40 years and used to be known as 'Juvenile diabetes' as type 1 is most common in childhood. It also accounts for between 5% & 15% of diabetes.

Unlike the non diabetic, the stomach breaks down the carbs into glucose and goes into the bloodstream but as there is no insulin produced to let it into the body cells at all, the glucose stays in the bloodstream and blood glucose levels are raised significantly.


The body tries to get rid of the excess glucose by expelling in through the kidneys, and also water, which is why the undiagnosed diabetic frequently visits the toilet to urinate and drinks more liquids than usual to replace the fluid loss. This can be quite a sever thirst (this can also happen if you forget your insulin after a meal) this excess glucose can cause bacteria to form in the genital areas and can cause thrush and itching.


There is also excess glucose in the bloodstream, which can lead to slow healing of cuts and scrapes due to the bacteria contained in the blood, which is why we need to take precautions when we hurt ourselves. This can also affect our eyes and give blurred vision and tiredness.  There may also be weight loss due to the body breaking down its own fat stores, as the body still needs energy.


So to summarise, the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes are:

Excessive thirst

Frequent urination

Thrush or genital itching

Blurred vision


Weight loss

Slow healing

It is not known for sure just why the insulin producing cells stop working in the type 1 diabetic but it is thought that the body has an abnormal reaction to these cells.  This is widely thought to be triggered by either a virus or other types of infection.

Hereditary Diabetes

Unlike type 2 diabetes, where your chances of developing the condition are greatly increased by eating unhealthily, being overweight and lack of exercise.  Type 2 can be avoided if you change to a healthy lifestyle.

There are risk factors that you may develop type 1 diabetes if any of your parents already have it. Below is a table showing these risks.



Neither parent

1 in 250 chance


1 in 50-100 chance


1 in 20 chance


1 in 15-30 chance

Sibling + 1 Parent

1 in 10 chance



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