The following information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice or used to alter medical therapy. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops making insulin. The body’s immune system destroys the insulin-making cells (beta cells) in the pancreas. The onset of type 1 diabetes usually occurs in people under the age of 30, but it can happen at any age. About 15% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes are type 1.
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not yet known, but we do know that it is not caused by poor diet and lack of activity. At this stage, nothing can be done to prevent or cure type 1 diabetes but scientists are working on finding a cure. In the meantime, you can live an enjoyable life by learning about the disease and effectively managing it.
Managing Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin replacement through lifelong insulin injections and by following a healthy diet and eating plan, taking regular exercise and monitoring of blood glucose levels regularly, as directed by a doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator.
When you’re diagnosed with diabetes your doctor will provide you with a lot of information and ask you a number of questions about your diet and medical and health history for both you and your family. If you’re a parent you may also be asked about your child or children’s health.
Your doctor may also want to do a thorough physical examination of your mouth, feet, eyes, abdomen, skin and thyroid gland, and possibly a cardiac (heart) work-up. You may also have a range of tests, including blood-lipid test for cholesterol. This assessment is important to your overall care.
You may be overwhelmed by all the information you’ve been given. Your local diabetes health care team can take you through your personal diabetes management plan, step by step, so make an appointment right away. Also, talk with your family, friends and others who may be living with diabetes. Remember, though, that every person’s diabetes is different, and what suits someone else may not suit you. With diabetes, one size does not fit all.
If you have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, registration with the National Diabetes Services Scheme can help by providing support services and subsidised products to assist you in self-managing your diabetes. To register, visit the Registration section of this website.
More Information on Diabetes and Health Management
You can find out more about overall health management for people with type 1 diabetes in our Health Management section. This includes information on eye health, foot health, pregnancy, depression and more.
You can find resources for young people with diabetes, emergency planning, and pregnancy under the Publications & Resources section.