Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes and juvenile diabetes is the severest type of diabetes which commonly affects children and adults younger than 35 years of age although it can occur at any age. It is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces insufficient amounts or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes cannot be cured but it can be successfully managed.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by destruction of the insulin producing cells in the pancreas by the immune system. Why the immune system destroys its own insulin producing cells is not exactly known, while factors which increase the risk are believed to be genetic factors and some viral infections. Without insulin the cells cannot use nor properly store glucose which accumulates in the blood and afterwards begins to appear in the urine which causes the most distinctive symptoms of type 1 diabetes – frequent urination and extreme thirst. People developing type 1 diabetes might also experience the following symptoms: unexplained weight loss, extreme hunger, fatigue and blurred vision. Symptoms develop very rapidly, commonly in few weeks or months and if left untreated high blood sugar levels can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening complication which can cause coma and death.

People suffering from type 1 diabetes must take insulin injections for the rest of their lives but successful treatment of type 1 diabetes also requires change of lifestyle – healthy diet and adequate physical activity. Highly important is also regular monitoring of blood sugar levels (glucose levels) using glucose meter.

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