Diabetes is a disease in which glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body can’t use it properly. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease caused by the body’s immune system attacking the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, a small gland near your belly button. Because of this damage, you become unable to produce enough insulin to keep glucose levels under control.

As a result, blood glucose levels rise, and without treatment can lead to life-threatening complications such as heart attack or stroke.

Causes of type 1 diabetes in adults and children

The causes of type 1 diabetes in adults and children can include:

  • Genetics. If you have a close family member with the condition, there’s a chance that your genes may make it more likely for you to develop type 1 diabetes too.
  • Pregnancy. Women who have gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at an increased risk of developing type 1 or 2 gestational diabetes later on in life. In some cases, this increase in risk could lead to full-blown type 1 diabetes over time.
  • Autoimmune disease (such as Graves’ disease). Sometimes an autoimmune disease can trigger an attack on the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas, leading to low levels of circulating insulin and high blood sugar levels—a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes in adults and children

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes in adults and children can include:

  • Increased thirst and urination (polyuria): This happens because your body is trying to rid itself of extra sugar by flushing it out through urine. Increased thirst may also be a symptom of water loss due to increased urine production.
  • Weight loss (without trying): This occurs when the kidneys aren’t able to conserve enough water that would normally be retained by cells throughout your body. The swelling is caused by an increase in the fluid between cells (edema) instead of an increase in the actual volume of blood or other liquids inside the cells themselves. It’s common for someone with this form of diabetes to experience swelling in their feet as well; this type is often referred to as diabetic nephropathy or kidney disease since high blood glucose levels can damage the kidneys over time if left untreated.
  • Fatigue, weakness, and dizziness when standing or walking: This is a common symptom of type 1 diabetes because it can be caused by low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). When your blood glucose levels drop too low, your brain needs more energy to function properly. As a result, you may feel tired and weak until your body can replenish its supply of glucose through the foods you eat.

Treatment for type 1 diabetes in adults and children

Treatment for type 1 diabetes in adults and children

  • Insulin therapy: Adults with type 1 diabetes will need to inject or pump insulin at regular intervals throughout the day. Not all patients will require insulin injections, but many do.
  • Diet: A healthy diet is essential in helping to control blood glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes. Foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains help reduce glucose levels. However, foods that are high in carbohydrates should be avoided since they can lead to increased blood glucose levels.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity helps maintain normal blood sugar levels and prevents complications of this disease, such as high cholesterol levels or heart disease. Various forms of exercise may be tried depending on what suits each person best – swimming or jogging are both good examples of activities that can be done regularly by most people with type 1 diabetes without putting too much strain on their body (and joints).


If you think you or someone you know may have type 1 diabetes, it’s important to see a doctor right away. Type 1 diabetes can be treated with insulin and other medications. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to controlling the disease and preventing serious complications.