Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's immune system attacks insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. When beta cells are destroyed, the body produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to transform sugar (glucose) into energy. The result: The blood glucose rises to dangerous levels, and diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition, may result. Over time, high blood glucose levels can lead to retinopathy, neuropathy, and heart disease. There is no cure for diabetes, but treatment focused on maintaining blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible can prevent complications. People with type 1 diabetes keep their blood glucose levels in a healthy range by giving themselves multiple injections of insulin each day, monitoring their blood glucose levels, following a meal plan, and exercising regularly.
Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes generally occurs in childhood or young adulthood, though the disease may have its onset at any age. It's much less common than type 2 diabetes, accounting for about 5 to 10 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Some symptoms of type 1 diabetes are excess thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision, extreme fatigue, extreme hunger, and weight loss.