Diabetes, Type 1

Diabetes is a long-term (chronic) disease. It occurs when the cells in the pancreas that make insulin (a hormone) are destroyed and can no longer make insulin. Type 1 diabetes was also previously called juvenile-onset diabetes. It most often occurs before the age of 30, but it can also occur in older people.


Among other factors, the following may cause type 1 diabetes:

  • Genetics. This means it may be passed to you by your parents.

  • The beta cells that make insulin are destroyed. The cause of this is unknown.


  • Urinating more than usual (or bed-wetting in children).

  • Drinking more than usual.

  • Irritability.

  • Feeling very hungry.

  • Weight loss (may be rapid).

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Abdominal pain.

  • Feeling more tired than usual (fatigue).

  • Rapid breathing.

  • Difficulty staying awake.

  • Night sweats.


Your blood is tested to determine whether you have type 1 diabetes.


  • You will need to check your blood glucose (sugar) levels several times a day.

  • You will need to balance insulin, a healthy meal plan, and exercise to maintain normal blood glucose.

  • Education and ongoing support is recommended.

  • You should have regular checkups and immunizations.


  • Never run out of insulin. It is needed every day.

  • Do not skip insulin doses.

  • Do not skip meals. Eat healthy.

  • Follow your treatment and monitoring plan.

  • Wear a pendant or bracelet stating you have diabetes and take insulin.

  • If you start a new exercise or sport, watch for low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) symptoms. Insulin dosing may need to be adjusted.

  • Follow up with your caregiver regularly.

  • Tell your workplace or school about your diabetes treatment plan.


  • You have problems keeping your blood glucose in target range.

  • You have blood glucose readings that are often too high or too low.

  • You have problems with your medicines.

  • You have symptoms of an illness that do not improve after 24 hours.

  • You have a sore or wound that is not healing.

  • You notice a change in vision or a new problem with your vision.

  • You have a fever.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.