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Type 1 diabetes

If you or someone you know has type 1 diabetes, read this page to understand what it is and how to manage it.

What is type 1 diabetes?

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce insulin because the body’s immune system destroys the insulin-making cells (beta cells) in the pancreas. This stops the pancreas from making insulin, which the body needs to use glucose for energy.

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not yet known, but we do know that it is not caused by poor diet or lack of activity.

At this stage, nothing can prevent or cure type 1 diabetes, but scientists are getting closer to finding a cure.

In the meantime you can live an enjoyable life by replacing the insulin and learning as much as possible about how to manage type 1 diabetes.

Read more about type 1 diabetes in our fact sheet Understanding type 1 diabetes.

I have been diagnosed with diabetes, what do I do now?

  1. Register with the NDSS.
  2. Your NDSS registration gives you access to subsidised products.
  3. Learn how to self-manage your diabetes by attending support programs and information sessions.
  4. Download our fact sheet Understanding type 1 diabetes.
  5. Read about living with diabetes.
  6. Form a health care team who can help you set goals.
  7. Talk to your doctor about your health checks and annual cycle of care.
  8. Call the NDSS Helpline on 1300 136 588 for advice and to learn more about the NDSS.

Managing your type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is managed by replacing the insulin your body can no longer make. Insulin is given by injection or by using an insulin pump.

You can live well with type 1 diabetes under the guidance of a doctor or diabetes educator, with the help of insulin replacement, a healthy eating plan, regular exercise, and glucose monitoring.

When you are diagnosed, your doctor will provide you with information and ask you questions about your diet, and your medical and health history. They will also ask about your family. If you are a parent, you may also be asked about the health of your children.

Your doctor might do a physical examination of your mouth, feet, eyes, abdomen, skin and thyroid gland, and possibly a cardiac (heart) work-up. You may also have blood tests, including a blood-lipid test for cholesterol. All of this is important for your overall care.

If you find that all the information is overwhelming, don’t worry. Your diabetes health care team can take you through your personal diabetes management plan, step by step. Make an appointment right away. Talk to your family, friends and others who may be living with diabetes.

Remember that diabetes is different for everybody. What suits someone else may not suit you. With diabetes, one size does not fit all.

Managing your health

Find out more about managing your health and preventing health complications. This includes information on:

  • eye damage
  • kidney health
  • foot health
  • pregnancy
  • depression.

How are you going with your diabetes health checks?

Regular checks can help prevent serious diabetes complications like problems with your feet, eyes, heart and kidneys. Your health care team will let you know how often you need checks, so you can schedule them into your calendar.

The NDSS and you

A wide range of services and support is available through the NDSS to help you manage your diabetes. The services, education programs and subsidised products available, can help you stay on top of your diabetes. You can also call the NDSS Helpline on 1300 136 588.

Disclaimer

The information here is meant to be helpful as a general guide. It is not a substitute for medical advice and it should not be used to change medical therapy. Talk to your health professional about your individual medical needs.