Type 1 diabetes
This type accounts for 15 to 20% of the total number of people with diabetes, around 400,000 people.
Also referred to as insulin dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes, it affects children and adults up to the age of forty. The number of children diagnosed under the age of 5 is markedly increasing.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. The body no longer produces insulin and glucose levels rise and treatment with insulin injections is always required for survival. It is diagnosed as an acute condition.
Around 25,000 people are treated with animal insulin and the remainder with synthetic ‘human’ insulin.
There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes and cause has not been established. It is thought to be to be multi-factorial with a genetic link in some people. Recent research shows that a common virus may trigger the body’s immune system to attack its own pancreatic cells that produce insulin.