SO WHAT IS TYPE 1 DIABETES?
There is often confusion between Type 1 diabetes and the much more common Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes usually manifests during childhood. The key change is an inability of the pancreas to produce insulin, which is essential for transporting glucose across internal cell membranes.
Type 1 is an autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system attacks the body’s own cells. Insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are then destroyed by “friendly fire”.
People without diabetes naturally keep a stable blood sugar while T1 diabetics have to stabilise it manually.
Type 1 diabetics require a number of injections a day along with monitoring blood sugars to ensure their glucose levels remain within 4mmol/l and 7mmol/l.
About 25,000 adults and children in New Zealand have Type 1 diabetes and cannot produce insulin at all.