Put simply: Type 1 diabetes is an elevation in blood sugars that occurs when a sugar called glucose can’t get into your fat and muscles where it is needed. In order for a cell in your body to gain access to glucose, it needs a small molecule called insulin. This ‘key’ unlocks the door into the cell. People with type 1 diabetes no longer produce insulin for a number of reasons.
The more complex story: Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas, or more specifically specialised cells within the pancreas called beta cells, fail to produce insulin. The most simple example is someone who has had their pancreas removed and in that situation, they develop type 1 immediately after the operation. This is however an unusual cause. Most people with type 1 diabetes develop the condition when the immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells. Why this occurs is the source of much scientific investigation but put simply it is likely that the immune system is confused and recognises beta cells as being a foreign object (such as a virus) and wages a war against it. The fall in insulin production can either be rapid or slow. People with type 1 can therefore either develop symptoms rapidly over a few months or more slowly over a few years.
Type 1 Diabetes Program