Also known as juvenile diabetes, it is most common in children but can be diagnosed at any age – approximately 10% of people with diabetes are Type 1.
It is an autoimmune disease that permanently destroys beta cells (insulin-producing cells) in the pancreas, meaning that the body can no longer produce insulin. The cause of the beta cell destruction remains unclear.
Insulin is a protein that comes from the pancreas which is located in the mid-abdomen. It allows glucose (sugar) to enter our cells to then be used as energy for the body, because our body needs glucose to operate.
In a healthy person, insulin is automatically released by the pancreas on a regular basis, and also when a person eats to counter the glucose that was consumed. In a person with Type 1 diabetes the body cannot use glucose properly because there is no insulin being produced, so levels of glucose in the blood rise to dangerous levels.
Because the pancreas of a person with Type 1 can no longer make insulin, they require regular blood tests (finger pricks) and insulin delivery (injections or insulin pump) to manage their diabetes.
Learn more about symptoms, complications, and treatment of T1 at Diabetes.org.uk.