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Transition was positive. They helped me understand my condition.


Type 1 diabetes

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes is a condition caused by a lack of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas, which is near the stomach.

You can read more below but also find information using images here

How does insulin work?

We need insulin to live. It is vital in the process of getting energy from the food we eat into cells for the normal processes we need to walk, run, sleep and grow. 

When carbohydrate from food is digested, it is broken down into glucose in the gut. This glucose goes into the bloodstream, but needs to get into cells to be used as energy and stored for future use. 

Insulin is the 'messenger' that allows glucose to get into the cells. The pancreas automatically releases insulin when we eat to allow the glucose to enter the cells, and to make sure that the right amount of glucose is left in the blood. 

What happens in diabetes?

Your pancreas is no longer making the insulin needed to move the glucose into the body cells, so the glucose builds up in the blood (high blood glucose levels) but the body energy stores are empty, which leaves you feeling tired.

The body tries to get rid of the high glucose levels in the blood through the kidneys. This glucose in the urine acts like a sponge and draws water from the body. This explains why you may have been going to the toilet a lot and needing to drink a lot.

Without insulin your energy stores are empty and the body switches to use protein and fat for energy. When fat is broken down for energy, ketones (acids) are produced as waste. These cause a sweet smell on the breath. Blood ketone levels should be checked whenever you are ill, regardless of blood sugar levels as ketones may be raised with normal sugar levels.

Ketones can build up over hours or days and make you feel unwell with stomach pain, back pain, being sick, sleepiness or deep or difficult breathing. Once treated with insulin, these symptoms disappear. If ketones build up in your body again, this shows there is too little insulin in the bloodstream. Ketoacidosis (diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA) is a dangerous condition which occurs when ketones build up in the body and make a person with diabetes sick.