Who it affects

Type 1 diabetes, is an illness that predominantly affects young patients. It affects 3-5% of the general population.

What gland is involved

The pancreas produces little or no insulin in response to glucose. The pancreas is an organ near the liver that produces various enzymes that are used to help digest food and hormones that circulate in the blood.


Patient with type 1 diabetes not uncommonly present very unwell and require hospital admission. Symptoms that these patients may have experienced prior to admission typically include thirst, passing large amounts of urine and weight loss. There may be a family history of type 1 diabetes, autoimmune conditions such as autoimmune hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis or Addison`s disease.


Diagnosis is usually made with blood tests and urine tests.


Treatment is with insulin replacement. Insulin may be injected 2 or more times a day. Precise regimes are tailored individually. Patient in whom it is indicated, insulin may also be administered through an insulin pump.

As with all patients with diabetes, it is important that patients with type 1 diabetes maintain a healthy lifestyle.


In patients with type 1 diabetes, the omission of insulin may be associated with serious ill-health and diabetic ketoacidosis requiring emergency admission to hospital.

Poorly controlled diabetes in the longer term may be associated with disorders affecting the eyes, kidneys, nerves and brain. It is therefore important that patients with diabetes attend regular appointments to ensure good control is being achieved and that any complications are being detected and managed appropriately.

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