Type 1 diabetes usually occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys cells within the pancreas (islet cells) that produce the hormone insulin, which allows glucose (blood sugar) and other nutrients to enter into cells of the body. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The exact cause is unknown, but researchers believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may be involved.
What causes type 1 diabetes?
When glucose cannot enter the cells, it builds up in the blood, and can cause diabetic complications. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections and regularly monitor their blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that control of blood glucose levels can decrease diabetic complications such as eye, kidney and nerve disease.
Type 1 diabetes may also be known by a variety of other names, including:
- Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM)
- Juvenile diabetes
Type 1 diabetes symptoms
Symptoms of the disorder are caused by high blood sugar and may include:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Blurred vision
- Weight loss
- Tingling or loss of feeling in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy)