Now playing: What is Type 1 Diabetes?

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What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use blood sugar - known as glucose - for energy.

Your body takes the food you eat and breaks down fat, protein, and carbohydrates for energy.

While your body is digesting the food, the carbohydrates are broken down into glucose. The glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream, where it is carried to cells throughout your body.

Insulin helps your cells absorb the glucose in your blood, allowing it to be used as energy. A healthy pancreas releases a regular supply of insulin into your bloodstream. After you eat, your blood glucose levels rise, and your pancreas responds by releasing more insulin to move the glucose into your cells.

Insulin acts as a key, opening up the cell so it can accept the glucose.

In a person with Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Without insulin, blood glucose levels rise.

Without insulin, glucose cannot enter the cells and be used for energy, and as a result, it remains in the bloodstream.

As a person with Type 1 diabetes, it is important to monitor and maintain healthy blood glucose levels. High blood glucose levels over a long period of time can lead to health complications. If you blood glucose level drops too low, even for a short amount of time, you may feel dizzy, or too hot or cold. If your blood glucose level drops extremely low, you may lose consciousness.

By taking insulin as prescribed by your doctor and maintaining a healthy diet, you can keep your blood glucose levels within a healthy range.

Last modified: 2012-03-06