About Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a life-long autoimmune disease that usually occurs in childhood but can be diagnosed at any age.

Type 1 diabetes affects over 26,000 people in New Zealand alone. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system mistakenly turning on itself, destroying beta cells within the pancreas and removing the body’s ability to produce insulin. Insulin allows the body to process sugar to create energy – without insulin, the body literally starves as it cannot process food.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease destroying our body’s ability to process sugar by attacking the beta cells in our pancreas that produce the hormone insulin. Insulin helps convert sugar into the fuel our bodies need. Without insulin, sugar builds up in our bloodstream in life-threatening amounts. Multiple times each day insulin needs to be injected into the body of someone living with T1D.

T1D Symptoms

Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age. In type 1 diabetes, a person’s pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin allows the body to process sugar to create energy, without insulin, the body literally starves as it cannot process food.
Extreme Thirst
Constant Hunger
Sudden Weight Loss
Frequent Urination
Extreme Tiredness
If you think you or someone you know has these type 1 diabetes symptoms, call a doctor immediately, and drink fluids WITHOUT SUGAR to prevent dehydration.

Eye Disease

The early stage of diabetic retinopathy, known as “background” diabetic retinopathy, unfolds as the walls of the retina weaken from high blood sugar and high blood pressure, developing small, dot-like bulges, or “micro-aneurysms,” which can leak fluid or blood into the surrounding tissue. In the second, more destructive stage, called proliferative diabetic retinopathy, new blood vessels form on the retina in response to the damage. When called to the spot where damage occurred, the cells generate new blood vessels as part of the repair.

Nerve Damage

Diabetic neuropathy is the medical name given to progressive damage to the nervous system caused by type 1 diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy can lead to a loss of feeling in the hands and feet. Reduced circulation resulting from high blood glucose impairs normal wound healing in the extremities, so minor damage can linger and develop into permanent injury. At the same time, neuropathy can cause severe pain in limbs that otherwise have reduced normal sensation.

Kidney Damage

Diabetic kidney disease or diabetic nephropathy is a slow deterioration of the kidneys and kidney function which, in more severe cases, can eventually result in kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease, or ESRD.

Heart Disease & Stroke

Cardiovascular disease is a range of blood vessel system diseases that includes both stroke and heart attack. The two most common types of cardiovascular disease are coronary heart disease, caused by fatty deposits in the arteries that feed the heart, and hypertension, or high blood pressure.