Type 1

Type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile diabetes or Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus IDDM) usually results from a cellular mediated autoimmune destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas. Patients with this form of diabetes are dependent upon daily insulin for survival and are at risk for ketoacidosis. Type 1 diabetes commonly occurs in childhood and adolescence but it could occur at any age.

WHO description of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 (beta-cell destruction, usually leading to absolute insulin deficiency)

Autoimmune Diabetes Mellitus

This form of diabetes, previously encompassed by the terms insulin-dependent diabetes, Type 1 diabetes, or juvenile-onset diabetes, results from autoimmune mediated destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas. The rate of destruction is quite variable, being rapid in some individuals and slow in others . The rapidly progressive form is commonly observed in children, but also may occur in adults . The slowly progressive form generally occurs in adults and is sometimes referred to as latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). Some patients, particularly children and adolescents, may present with ketoacidosis as the first manifestation of the disease . Others have modest fasting hyperglycaemia that can rapidly change to severe hyperglycaemia and/or ketoacidosis in the presence of infection or other stress. Still others, particularly adults, may retain residual beta-cell function, sufficient to prevent ketoacidosis, for many years . Individuals with this form of Type 1 diabetes often become dependent on insulin for survival eventually and are at risk for ketoacidosis . At this stage of the disease, there is little or no insulin secretion as manifested by low or undetectable levels of plasma C-peptide .

Markers of immune destruction, including islet cell autoantibodies, and/or autoantibodies to insulin, and autoantibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) are present in 85-90 % of individuals with Type 1 diabetes mellitus when fasting diabetic hyperglycaemia is initially detected . The peak incidence of this form of Type 1 diabetes occurs in childhood and adolescence, but the onset may occur at any age, ranging from childhood to the ninth decade of life . There is a genetic predisposition to autoimmune destruction of beta cells, and it is also related to environmental factors that are still poorly defined. Although patients are usually not obese when they present with this type of diabetes, the presence of obesity is not incompatible with the diagnosis. These patients may also have other autoimmune disorders such as Graves' disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and Addison's disease .


There are some forms of Type 1 diabetes which have no known aetiology. Some of these patients have permanent insulinopenia and are prone to ketoacidosis, but have no evidence of autoimmunity . This form of diabetes is more common among individuals of African and Asian origin. In another form found in Africans an absolute requirement for insulin replacement therapy in affected patients may come and go, and patients periodically develop ketoacidosis .


ADA description of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes results from the body's failure to produce insulin, the hormone that "unlocks" the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar. Sugar is the basic fuel for the cells in the body, and insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells.
Finding out you have diabetes is upsetting, but don't panic. Sure, diabetes is serious. But people with diabetes can live long, healthy, happy lives. You can too by taking good care of yourself.

Parents & Kids

Raising a child, with or without diabetes, is never easy. Diabetes doesn't change the basics of parenting. However, it adds new challenges, from birth to the teenage years. Here, learn more about: general information about type 1 diabetes, when your child is away from home, and information just for teens.

Living with Type 1

If you're living with type 1 diabetes, here you can learn about: when you're sick, when you travel, how to cope with bad feelings, what to do at work, and how to deal with sex and pregnancy.


Learn more about the many complications of diabetes: heart disease and stroke; retinopathy (eye disease); kidney disease; neuropathy (nerve damage); as well as maintaining good skin, foot and oral health.

Medical Information

In this section, you will find helpful information on many topics, including: insulin; diagnostic tests; standards of care; hyperglycemia; hypoglycemia; ketoacidosis; kidney, pancreas & islet transplants, celiac disease, and tips on what to expect from your health care provider.

Wizdom Youth Zone

The Wizdom Youth Zone was created by the American Diabetes Association for kids with diabetes. The site offers diabetes information in a fun and interactive setting, and includes several games to entertain and educate.

Wizdom Youth Zone

The Wizdom Youth Zone was created by the American Diabetes Association for kids with diabetes. The site offers diabetes information in a fun and interactive setting, and includes several games to entertain and educate.

Diabetes Camps

ADA sponsors and/or supports 85 youth camps nationwide each year. Camp is the best chance to learn more about living with diabetes day in and day out, while enjoying the great outdoors and a wide variety of tremendous recreational activities.