Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system destroys healthy cells in the pancreas and stops it from producing insulin.
People living with type 1 diabetes need to give themselves insulin every day, either by injection or via an insulin pump, to stay alive.
This condition is usually diagnosed during childhood or young adulthood but can occur at any age.
What causes type 1 diabetes?
We do not know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. We know that there is a strong genetic link and that it cannot be prevented. We also know that it has nothing to do with lifestyle, although maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important in helping to manage type 1 diabetes.
At this stage nothing can be done to prevent or cure type 1 diabetes.
How do I know if I have type 1 diabetes?
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can include:
- excessive thirst
- unexplained weight loss
- passing more urine
- tiredness and lethargy
- constant hunger
- cuts that heal slowly
- itching, skin infections
- blurred vision
- mood swings
- leg cramps.
These symptoms may occur suddenly. If they occur, see a doctor. Your doctor can conduct a simple test to see if you have type 1 diabetes.
How is type 1 diabetes managed?
Type 1 diabetes is a life threatening condition which needs to be closely managed with daily care. Type 1 diabetes is managed with:
- insulin replacement through lifelong insulin injections (up to 6 every day) or use of an insulin pump
- regular monitoring of blood glucose levels
- following a healthy diet and eating plan
- taking regular exercise
- regular check-ups with a healthcare team.
What happens if I don’t manage type 1 diabetes well?
Diabetes is a complex condition; it can affect many parts of your physical, mental and emotional well being. Poorly managed type 1 diabetes can lead to a number of serious complications. In extreme cases, neglecting to manage your diabetes can be life threatening.
How can Diabetes WA help me?
Diabetes WA is here to provide you will all of the information, education and support that you need to confidently manage your type 1 diabetes.
Our Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE) program is designed specifically for adults with type 1 diabetes. We also run the Smarts programs, a series of short group education sessions designed to help you better manage your diabetes.
You can contact our Diabetes WA Helpline to have all of your diabetes questions answered by a qualified professional.
We also have a number of programs designed to help you adopt a healthier lifestyle, which will ultimately help you to better manage your diabetes.
We have a resource library – full of fact sheets, e-books and multicultural resources – at your disposal.
If you are at school, or care for a school-aged child, you may also be interested in our type 1 diabetes management and action plans for early learning and school settings, and in our two school training courses.
To help young Western Australians cope with a type 1 diagnosis, in partnership with Perth Children’s Hospital we run the very popular annual Kid’s Camps.
Finally, we have a free e-newsletter – the T1DE – covering the latest news, research, recipes and events for people living with type 1 diabetes. Interested? Sign up to start receiving it today.