Type 1 Diabetes

Information About Type 1 Diabetes

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

There is more than one form of type 1 diabetes and each can develop for different reasons. Type 1 diabetes can result from hereditary deficiencies in the beta-cells of the pancreas (maturity onset diabetes of the young, or MODY), damage to the pancreas from trauma or drugs, another illness like hemochromatosis (iron overload) or cystic fibrosis that damages the pancreas, or will result when the pancreas is surgically removed.

The most commonly diagnosed form of type 1 diabetes is juvenile diabetes, or, insulin-dependent diabetes. People with juvenile type 1 diabetes have an inherited genetic predisposition towards developing diabetes (the genes are different for type 1 and type 2 but both have a genetic aspect involved). Many people have these genes but will never develop the disease. For those that do become diabetic, something triggers the body to attack and destroy the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas.

Triggers for type 1 diabetes are thought in include certain viruses (including rotaviruses), chemical, or some other environmental factor. Visit our general diabetes information page for causes of diabetes, genetic transmission rates of diabetes for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and other diseases and disorders that are associated with diabetes.

Other diseases that affect persons with diabetes at a higher rate than in the general population include Addison’s Disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. celiac disease (sprue, or gluten intolerance), and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Anyone diagnosed with type 1 diabetes should also be tested for these.

Juvenile type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is when the body attacks and destroys good cells and tissues mistaking them as foreign intruders. With type 1 diabetes the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are slowly destroyed and eventually they fail to produce insulin. When this happens a person will need to take insulin to live.