WHEN IT COMES TO TYPE 1 DIABETES

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WHAT IS TYPE 1 DIABETES?

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease.

It’s different than type 2 diabetes. You can think of an autoimmune disease as a programming error in your immune system. Your immune system is programmed to protect you by getting rid of harmful threats. But if you have T1D, your immune system thinks healthy beta cells are the enemy and attacks them.

When this happens, it becomes harder for your body to produce insulin and keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range.

Did you know?

T1D is typically only diagnosed after symptoms appear, when a person is unable to make enough insulin. But the fact is, T1D starts in the body long before there are any symptoms.

HOW DOES TYPE 1 DIABETES AFFECT THE BODY?

Type 1 diabetes progresses in 3 stages.

Stages 1 and 2 are considered pre–insulin-dependent T1D. That’s because in these early stages, the body can still make enough insulin to keep blood sugars in a healthy range, on its own.

In stage 3, the body is no longer able to make enough insulin to keep blood sugars in a healthy range. A person will take insulin for the rest of their life to manage their disease. This is known as insulin-dependent T1D.

Pre–insulin-dependent T1D

STAGE 1

Beta cell loss begins

Blood sugar = normal

No visible signs or symptoms

STAGE 2

Beta cell loss continues

Blood sugar = abnormal

No visible signs or symptoms

Insulin-dependent T1D

STAGE 3

The body is no longer able to make enough insulin

Noticeable symptoms appear (including frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme weight loss, irritability and other mood changes, fatigue and weakness, and blurred vision) and complications like diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which can sometimes be life-threatening.

Knowing if you or your child has early-stage T1D can help you be better prepared to recognize symptoms when they do appear. Learn about the steps you can take after getting your test results.

What are the risk factors for type 1 diabetes?

The exact cause of T1D isn’t known. But there are several factors that are thought to play a role.

Family history is a significant risk factor for T1D.

If T1D is in your family, you could be at risk.

Risk of developing T1D with: No family history 1 in 300 Family history 15x GREATER RISK (1 in 20) up to
No familyhistory 1 in 300 Risk of developing T1D with: Family history 15x GREATER RISK (1 in 20) up to

Certain viral infections, such as coxsackievirus B, may also increase the risk of developing T1D.

If you or your child already has an autoimmune condition or you have a history of autoimmune conditions in your family, that can also put you or your child at higher risk.

Did you know?

Even though it is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, T1D can occur at any age.

Find out about the test that can detect T1D before there are any symptoms.