Australian Artificial Pancreas Program

Building a brighter future for people with type 1 diabetes…

Type 1 Diabetes

Australian Artificial Pancreas Program, supporting children with type 1 diabetes,

What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is an unpreventable, life-long autoimmune disease that can be diagnosed at any age and is incurable.  In type 1 diabetes the pancreas produces little or no insulin so the body starves as it cannot process food.  Children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes require a rigorous daily regime of blood glucose monitoring and face a lifetime of multiple insulin injections daily.  The condition impacts their schooling, exercise, sleep, independence and diet.  The onset of diabetes typically occurs in people under 30 years but can occur at any age.  About 10-15% of all cases of diabetes are type 1.

Although many people with type 1 diabetes may look healthy, over time the disease ravages most organs and body systems.  Even with the most dedicated management fluctuations in blood glucose levels are unavoidable so it is not unusual for patients to experience several episodes of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) and hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose) each day and night.  The lows cause nausea and dizziness.  If not treated promptly lows can result in seizures or unconsciousness and can be fatal.  The highs increase the risk of severe health complications including kidney damage, blindness, nerve damage, amputation, heart attack and stroke.While recent advances in research have improved therapies for people living with type 1 diabetes, blood glucose control remains a tremendous challenge and serious long-term health complications are common.  Patients endeavour to manage the condition based on a heavy burden of responsibility for their future health.

Causes of Type 1 Diabetes
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not yet known, but we do know it has a strong family link and cannot be prevented.  We also know that it has nothing to do with lifestyle, although maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important in helping to manage type 1 diabetes. At this stage nothing can be done to prevent or cure type 1 diabetes.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

  • Being excessively thirsty
  • Passing more urine
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Blurred vision
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy

Managing Type 1 Diabetes
While there is currently no cure for type 1 diabetes, the disease can be managed through maintaining a healthy lifestyle, regular blood glucose testing and insulin.

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