What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Diabetes means too much sugar or glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose comes from the food that we eat and gives us energy.

Insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas acts like a key allowing the glucose to go from the blood into our body cells so that we can use this energy.


Type 1 diabetes happens when the pancreas stops making insulin. So the glucose can’t get into the cells and it builds up in the bloodstream which can make you very sick. You feel tired, thirsty, you want to go to the toilet all the time and you’ve got no energy. All of this happens because your blood glucose levels (BGLs) are too high.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that happens when your immune system, which normally protects you from infection, starts to destroy the cells that make insulin. For type 1 diabetes to develop you need to carry the ‘at risk’ genes as well as a trigger to start the damage to the cells.

Treatment for type 1 diabetes is with insulin injections or an insulin pump, plus balancing this with your food and exercise and regularly testing your BGLs.