Type 1 diabetes develops when the body’s immune system begins to destroy the insulin-making cells in the pancreas, causing glucose levels to build up in the blood. No one knows why this happens, although some families are more prone to Type 1 diabetes than others. Poor diet and an inactive lifestyle can also be contributing factors.Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, lifelong condition, and is managed with the use of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body, where it is used to break down the food we eat and to transport glucose to the cells. However, if the body’s production of insulin is too low, it cannot break down food efficiently, and glucose levels in the blood increase.People living with diabetes have to actively manage processes that the body would otherwise manage naturally. If they do not do this, they will experience symptoms such as tiredness and excessive thirst, and they will urinate more frequently. In the long term, they could develop eye problems, kidney problems and progressive heart failure, as well as nerve damage to the hands and feet.
The symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Weight loss
People with two or more of these symptoms should visit their healthcare professional for a diabetes assessment.