Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age. However, it is most often diagnosed in children, adolescents, or young adults.
Insulin is a hormone produced by special cells, called beta cells, in the pancreas. The pancreas is found behind your stomach. Insulin is needed to move blood sugar (glucose) into cells, where it is stored and later used for energy. In type 1 diabetes, beta cells produce little or no insulin.
Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells. The body is unable to use this glucose for energy. This leads to the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. Most likely it is an autoimmune disorder. An infection or some other trigger causes the body to mistakenly attack the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. This kind of disorder can be passed down through families.
These symptoms may be the first signs of type 1 diabetes, or may occur when the blood sugar is high:
• Being very thirsty
• Feeling hungry
• Feeling tired or fatigued
• Having blurry eyesight
• Losing the feeling or feeling tingling in your feet
• Losing weight without trying
• Urinating more often
For other people, these warning symptoms may be the first signs of type 1 diabetes, or they may happen when the blood sugar is very high
• Deep, rapid breathing
• Dry skin and mouth
• Flushed face
• Fruity breath odour
• Nausea or vomiting, inability to keep down fluids
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