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Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, auto-immune condition in which beta cells within the pancreas have been attacked by the immune system and cannot properly produce the hormone insulin. Insulin helps the body use and store sugar, and the lack of it causes blood sugar to increase, leading to complications affecting the heart, kidney, nerves, eyes and blood vessels.

This form of diabetes can occur at any age, but is usually diagnosed in young children and adults less than 20 years of age. There currently is no cure for type 1 diabetes.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes symptoms may take several days to weeks to surface, and can include:

  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth

To diagnose the condition, your primary care physician will perform a physical exam, get details about your family medical history and perform blood tests. After diagnosis, your primary care physician can refer you to an endocrinologist who will work with them to determine the best long-term care plan for your diabetes.

Treatment Options for Type 1 Diabetes

While there is currently no cure for type 1 diabetes, the treatment plans offered by NorthShore's Division of Endocrinology will provide you with a comprehensive plan for managing your symptoms and controlling your blood sugar levels in order to live a comfortable, healthy life. 

Your endocrinologist will assemble a team, which may include certified diabetes educators and nurse practitioners to develop a personalized care plan. While type 1 diabetes will always require treatment with insulin, your care plan will also include diet, monitoring and exercise. If you require the use of insulin pumps and continuous glucose sensors, our diabetes educators will teach you how to use these technologies to take control of your diabetes.

If at any point, you experience complications due to diabetes such as retinopathy, nerve damage or kidney problems, your endocrinologist may collaborate with experts in neurology, ophthalmology, nephrology and cardiology.

For More Information

For more information about type 1 diabetes, please call 847.663.8540.