Type 1 Diabetes, Insulin, and Your Pancreas

The term “Diabetes Mellitus” is a general name that refers to any type of diabetes where your blood sugar is high. Today we will talk about a specific type of this disease.


  • Also known as Insulin-Dependent-Diabetes (IDD) or juvenile diabetes
  • Pancreas does not make enough, or any, insulin
  • Begins mostly in children and younger adults
  • High blood glucose (sugar) levels
  • Symptoms include: frequent urination (the kidney is trying to rid the body of excess sugar), thirst (due to the loss of fluids from frequent urination), tired, hungry, blurry eyesight, moodiness.

How does this all work? There are certain cells in your pancreas called “the islets of Langerhans” that produce insulin.

What does insulin do? When you eat carbohydrates, the food is broken down to glucose (sugar) and enters the bloodstream. The blood carries the glucose throughout the body to all your organs, tissues, and cells to be used as energy. Think of insulin as the key that opens the door for glucose to get out of the bloodstream and into the tissues.

Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas can’t make enough, if any, insulin. Without insulin, the door to your tissues is locked, and glucose stays in your bloodstream, unable to provide energy for your organs, tissues, and cells of your body. When the door is locked, the sugar remains in your blood, unable to provide you with energy, and your blood sugar level raises.

The cause of this disease is not fully understood. It could be a genetic susceptibility. It cannot be “caught.” It is not caused by overeating. It does not go away as you age. The good news is that it can be treated effectively by administering insulin and monitoring blood sugar levels.

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