Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system destroys the insulin producing beta cells found in the pancreas

A similar condition called secondary diabetes occurs when factor other than your immune systems destroys the beta cells such as disease or trauma.

These are often subtle, but they can become severe. They include:

  • Heavy thirst
  • Increased hunger (especially after meals)
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in your belly
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Frequent infections of the skin, urinary tract, or vagina

Manifestations of an emergency with type 1 diabetes include:

  • Shaking and confusion
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fruity smell to your breath
  • Pain in your belly
  • Loss of consciousness (rare)


Physician may do/request:

  • History & Physical Exam
  • Blood Sugar Levels
  • Urine tests for glucose or other chemicals your body produces when it lacks insulin



Long and healthy lives are compatible with people who have Type 1 diabetes as long as the blood sugar levels are kept within the prescribed range given by the physician.  Constant monitoring and adjustments in insulin, food and exercise are important.

Insulin injections are used to control blood sugar.

Main concepts of Insulin use:

  • Onset
    • Amoung of time before insulin begins lowering blood sugar
  • Peak Time
    • Optimum time of effect of insulin in lowering blood sugar
  • Duration
    • Amount of time insulin works after peak time

Types of Insulin:

Rapid-acting 15 minutes 1 hour 2-4 hours
Regular or short-acting 30 minutes 2-3 hours 3-6 hours
Intermediate-acting 2-4 hours 4-12 hours 12-18 hours
Long-acting Several hours Several hours 24 hours


Your physician may initially prescribe 2 injections of 2 different kinds of insulin per day and may progress to 3-4 shots per day.

Insulin may come in a glass vial in which you will need to draw with a syringe with a needle and give the shot yourself. It may also come as a prefilled pen, an inhaler or a wearable pump device that delivers the insulin via a small tube. The method of delivery best for you will be discussed and recommended by your physician.

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