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  Facts About Type 1 Diabetes

Insulin dependent diabetes is a lifelong disease caused by lack of insulin. Insulin is a hormone - a substance of vital importance that is made by your body. Without insulin your body can't make proper use of the food you eat. This causes your blood glucose (blood sugar) to rise too high.

Type 1 diabetes is characterized by complete destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas by the bodyís immune system (auto-immune disease). Since the beta cells are the endocrine gland secreting insulin, which regulates the blood glucose levels in the body, destruction of the beta cells results in high blood glucose levels, and if untreated can result in a potentially fatal consequence, ketoacidosis.

Type 1 diabetes can occur in anyone, although it most commonly occurs in children and adolescents or young adults. It usually occurs spontaneously and quite abruptly without any warning and is not associated with a family history of diabetes. Insulin treatment is life saving.

Once the beta cells are destroyed, insulin therapy will be necessary for the rest of an individualís life or until a cure is found. About 5-8% of all diabetics have Type I diabetes.

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