What is Type 1 Diabetes? Causes, Symptoms & Management

Well Heeled

What is Type 1 Diabetes, and what are the symptoms?

Type 1 Diabetes – Part of our ‘Understanding Diabetes’ information posts

Introduction to Type 1 Diabetes

What actually is Type 1 Diabetes? We all dream of leading carefree and healthy lives, but this isn’t always in the cards for us. Unfortunately, many people struggle with illnesses and health conditions. One of the most common and threatening health conditions that people struggle with today is type 1 diabetes. Therefore, it is crucial to understand diabetes, the symptoms of diabetes, and ways to avoid it. Here at Well Heeled we wanted to look more closely at the different types of diabetes in more detail. You can check the general diabetes posts here as well as the Type 2 Diabetes posts here.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition that can affect people of all ages. It is caused by the pancreas not making insulin at all or producing an insufficient amount of insulin. Why does that matter? Insulin is a hormone that plays a critical role in the body. It helps blood sugar enter your body’s cells. There, the blood sugar can be used to provide us with energy. If the pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin, your blood sugar won’t get into the cells, and instead, it can cause a build-up in your bloodstream. Having high blood sugar can be dangerous because it could lead to complications.

Who can ‘get’ this type of diabetes?

Before, type 1 diabetes was referred to as juvenile diabetes because it is often diagnosed in young adults, teenagers, and children. However, it can develop in people of any age. About 10% of people have type 1 diabetes, so it isn’t as common as type 2 diabetes.

There is no sure way to prevent type 1 diabetes, but you can help lessen your chances of getting type 1 diabetes. These include:

living an active and healthy lifestyle
getting health checkups regularly
being aware of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes
taking care to manage your blood sugar

What should you do if your child has this type of diabetes?

If your child gets diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you might need to do the following:

prepare healthy meals
administering insulin injections
checking for hypoglycemia
treating hypoglycemia

If your child is diagnosed with diabetes, you must stay in close contact with your child’s doctor to learn more about the treatment plan and ways to ensure your child stays healthy.

What are the causes of type 1 diabetes?

The cells in your pancreas that are responsible for making insulin are called beta cells. With type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune reaction exists where the body attacks the beta cells, thereby influencing the body’s production of insulin. This is often a process that occurs over an extended period, months or even years, before you might show any symptoms.

Although some people pass genes to their children, that might make it more likely for them to develop type 1 diabetes, it is often not a given that you will get type 1 diabetes just because one of your parents has it. Most often, a trigger exists in the form of a virus that develops into type 1 diabetes. In addition, it has been shown that your lifestyle and diet habits don’t directly cause type 1 diabetes, but living a healthier life is always better regardless.

Are there any symptoms of this type of diabetes?

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes can take months or even years to appear after beta cells have started being destroyed. However, once these symptoms begin to show, they can be extremely severe. The symptoms of type 1 diabetes are most often:

an unquenchable thirst
needing the bathroom more frequently at night
exhaustion and lack of energy
unexplained weight loss
thrush or rashes that keep returning
unclear or blurry vision
slow healing of cuts or bruises

Many of these symptoms are similar to those of other health conditions, but you must consult your doctor immediately if you suspect that you might have type 1 diabetes. Your doctor will get your blood sugar tested and assess your symptoms.

It is vital to note that type 1 diabetes can lead to serious health complications if left untreated.

How is this of type diabetes tested?

Type 1 diabetes is tested by doing a straightforward blood test. Suppose your doctor suspects that you might have type 1 diabetes. In that case, your blood will probably also be tested for auto-antibodies since they are commonly present in type 1 diabetes and not in type 2 diabetes. You might also be asked to do a urine test to see your ketones levels since these levels differ in type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

How do you manage type 1 diabetes?

Diabetes differs significantly from other health conditions because you are primarily responsible for managing your diabetes. It would be best if you had a dedicated health care team to support you. A remarkable health care team for managing type 1 diabetes includes:

your regular doctor
a podiatrist
a dentist
an ophthalmologist
a nutritionist
a pharmacist

Although this list might seem overwhelming, each of these professionals plays a crucial part in keeping your diabetes under control. Type 1 diabetes will require you to administer insulin shots or possibly wear an insulin pump so that you can effectively manage your blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, insulin can’t be taken in pill form because of your stomach’s acid. Therefore, consulting your doctor about the best type and dosage of insulin is vital, and then stick to your management plan. Discuss your target blood sugar levels with your doctor and do checks regularly. It might seem like managing your diabetes is hard work, but it is worth it to ensure that you live a happy and healthy life.

Although stress is primarily unavoidable in our daily lives, it can make it more challenging to deal with your daily diabetes care and manage your blood sugar level. Therefore, you must take good care of yourself and minimize stressful factors. For example, try to exercise daily, sleep enough, and take time to relax. In addition, eat healthily and control your blood pressure and cholesterol.

You may also benefit from equipment that helps to better support living with diabetes, such as our own Shaped Up Diabetic Socks which could help to reduce the risk of developing foot ulcers and have been developed in conjunction with the Royal College of Podiatry.


Finding out you have type 1 diabetes might seem like a daunting diagnosis, but it is manageable. By taking care of yourself and sticking to your diabetes care plan, you can live a healthy and happy life.

About Me

Founder of Well Heeled - I have a great interest in diabetes and the effect on those diagnosed as well as those around them. With over 20 years in health and social care, as a qualified social worker and as a passionate educator within the health and social care sector, I wanted to bring further information to others around diabetes and other issues.

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