Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented but it can be managed through a combination of medication, healthy food choices and exercise.
Of all the people with diabetes it is estimated that about 10% of them have type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes is the result of the body not creating enough insulin to keep blood glucose (sugar) levels in the normal range. Everyone needs some glucose in their blood, but if it’s too high it can damage your body over time.
Type 1 diabetes is an ‘auto-immune’ condition. Basically the body sets up an attack against the cells within it that make insulin. These cells are called beta cells and are isolated in the pancreas. The result is that the body does not produce any insulin (or very little).
Type 1 diabetes most often occurs in childhood, often in children aged 7 – 12 years. However it can occur at any age – from tiny babies to very old people.
May also have:
Diabetes is diagnosed by blood tests which can be organised through your doctor. If you are very unwell you should seek medical assistance immediately.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to manage your blood glucose levels with insulin. Healthy eating and physical activity will also help you stay well.
Click here to learn more about taking insulin.
If you have a blood relative with diabetes you are more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes. However Type 1 diabetes often occurs in people who have no one in their family with the condition.
Currently there is no cure for type 1 diabetes. There is a lot of research going on in the field of finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes.
Yes! Type 1 diabetes can be managed and people with type 1 diabetes can and do live long, active and healthy lives. There are many stories of people with type 1 diabetes finding success in professional sports, business, arts and more.
Many people experience a strong grief reaction when first finding out they have type 1 diabetes. Mixed in with these feelings of grief may also be a sense of relief.
Why? Well, there is a feeling of certainty that comes with finding out just what it is that has been wrong (people with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes may have been feeling unwell for some time but haven’t known what the problem was). It is a relief to get a diagnosis but it is also a big shock to learn it is diabetes.
When you are first diagnosed it’s perfectly natural to feel a range of strong emotions, fear, anger, frustration, sadness. You have had a lot of big things to deal with – all at once. There are things you can do, however, that will help you manage your way through this period. For example:
Fact: You and your type 1 diabetes will be together for the rest of your life.
Fact: You are going to be doing lots of learning in order to manage your diabetes.
Many people say that living with type 1 diabetes is a life long journey of learning. You don’t have to take it all in at once. It often feels easier to take it step by step.
And remember – you are not alone. You have a whole team of health professionals who are able to help you learn what you need to know, when you need to know it. Your team consists of specialist diabetes doctors, diabetes nurse educators, dietitians, your GP and others. They can act as your guide during your learning journey.
Your local Diabetes New Zealand Branch can help you by providing support and information, find the Branch nearest to you here.