Type 1 diabetes is a disease in which the body does not make enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes was previously called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes.
During digestion, food is broken down into basic components. Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars, primarily glucose. Glucose is a critically important source of energy for the body's cells. To provide energy to the cells, glucose needs to leave the blood and get inside the cells.
Insulin traveling in the blood signals the cells to take up glucose. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. When levels of glucose in the blood rise, like following a meal, the pancreas normally produces more insulin.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when some or all of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed. This leaves the patient with little or no insulin. Without insulin, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream rather than entering the cells. As a result, the body cannot use this glucose for energy.
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