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Type I or Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM)

IDDM (also called juvenile-onset diabetes) occurs when the pancreas makes little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone manufactured and secreted by the pancreas. Insulin is essential for the cells of your body to metabolize glucose properly and function normally.  Without insulin to move glucose into cells, blood sugar levels become dangerously high, a condition known as hyperglycemia. Since the body cannot utilize the sugar, the sugar spills over into the urine and is lost. (One of the tests for diabetes is the sugar level in urine)

Type I diabetes usually occurs in people younger than 30 years.  However, it can occur at any age. 

Type I diabetes is caused by damage to the pancreas, an organ near the stomach that contains beta cells, which produce insulin. Many things can destroy beta cells, but in most people with insulin-dependent diabetes, a glitch in the immune system causes it to attack the beta cells. Without insulin-producing beta cells, glucose builds up in the blood.  Type 1 diabetes accounts for only 5 percent to 10 percent of all cases of diabetes. Although Insulin-dependent diabetes is much less common, it is more severe.

There are at least 18 different genes that influence susceptibility to Type I diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes has been called different names.  Some of its other names are: juvenile onset diabetes mellitus, ketosis-prone diabetes mellitus and immune-mediated diabetes. It usually begins in childhood or adolescence, but is a lifelong disease and there is no cure.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that affects 0.3% of the world's population. It is caused by auto-aggressive T cells that infiltrate the pancreas and eventually destroy the insulin-producing B-islet cells. This results in an increase in glucose levels, which are normally kept in check by insulin. Autoimmune diabetes usually affects young people, who are then dependent on an artificial source of insulin for life. The identity of the self proteins in the pancreatic islets that target the cells for autoimmune destruction has long been debated. 

About 1 million Americans have type 1 Diabetes.

Insulin dependent diabetes is controlled by:

  • Lowering the blood glucose level by daily injections of insulin
  • And a balanced diet

Risk factors for developing type 1 Diabetes

  • race/ethnicity (type 1 diabetes is more prevalent in people of Caucasian descent)
  • if the father or mother has type 1 diabetes

Cure for Diabetes type 1


A cure for diabetes has not been found yet.  However, it can be controlled. Ways to control diabetes are: maintaining blood glucose levels, blood fat levels and weight.  Controlling diabetes is very important and should be supervised by a medical doctor.  When diabetes is controlled, it will help prevent serious complications such as: infections, kidney damage, eye damage, nerve damage to feet and heart disease.


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