Understanding Type 1 Diabetes


June 3rd, 2021

Understanding Type 1 Diabetes

1. What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose. Glucose is a sugar and the main source of energy for our body. Our body needs glucose to keep running.
This is how our body should work:
“We eat food and the glucose in our food goes into our bloodstream.
The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin which helps the glucose get into the body’s cells. This gives our body the energy it needs to live.”
But if someone has Type 1 Diabetes, the body cannot produce insulin or produces insufficient amounts of insulin. Without insulin, glucose from the food can’t get into the body’s cells and builds up in the bloodstream. Too much glucose in the blood makes people sick if they don’t get proper treatment.

2. What are the signs of Type 1 Diabetes?

When people first have diabetes they usually:

  • Urinate a lot because the body tries to get rid of the extra sugar by passing it out of the body in the urine (pee)
  • Drink a lot to make up for all that peeing
  • Eat a lot because the body is hungry for the energy it can’t get from the food (glucose)
  • Lose weight as the body starts to use fat and muscle for fuel because it can’t use sugar normally
  • Feel tired because the body can’t use sugar for energy

Other signs can be:

  • Fruity smelling breath
  • Blurry vision
  • Stomach pains
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Rapid, heavy breathing

3. What is the treatment for Type 1 Diabetes?

Insulin by injection is the only treatment for Type 1 Diabetes. Blood glucose testing, meal planning, and exercise are also important to help with the control of Type 1 Diabetes.

4. How is Type 1 Diabetes contracted?

Scientists do not fully understand what causes Type 1 Diabetes, but a few risk factors have been identified, including genetic (hereditary) risk.
What we know is, those who have diabetes did not cause it and there is no way that it could have been prevented.

5. How will Type 1 Diabetes affect people’s life?

The people living with Type 1 Diabetes are still the same person. With proper treatment, they can enjoy a long and fulfilled life. They can still do everything they used to do.

This includes:

  • School
  • Sports
  • Work
  • Get married and have children in the future


HelloType1 content is based on published, internationally recognised guidelines and then reviewed by local experts to ensure it fits local context. The translation is based on simplified English language to ensure it conveys the safest and clearest possible message in regional languages. Basic insulin and blood glucose testing access is still an issue in the South-East Asia region and our chief aim is to address this. HelloType1 content is not intended to replace the advice of individual healthcare professionals but as a collaborative tool to help them improve the outcomes of disadvantaged people with Type 1 Diabetes in the region.

HelloType1 content is curated for the topics using information only taken from accredited sources such as the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) and the International Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD).

This content is then reviewed and adapted by a panel consisting of healthcare experts (e.g. endocrinologist, nutritionist, diabetes nurse, psychologist) and members of the South-East Asia T1D communities, helping ensure the information is appropriate in a local context.

Writers of HelloType1 content:
Anne-Charlotte Ficheroulle, Pharmacist, Digital Innovation Manager at A4D
Charlotte O’Brian Gore, Research assistant ImmunoEngineering, King’s College. UK

Content Reviewers – healthcare professionals:
Dr. May Ng, Paediatric Endocrinologist, Chief Medical Advisor A4D, UK
Dr. Yeow Toh Peng, Endocrinologist, Malaysia
Dr Jaturat Petchkul, Paediatric Endocrinologist, Thailand
Dianna Culbertson, Physician Assistant T1D care, US
Prof Dr Malene Iv, Endocrinologist, Kantha Bopha Hospital, Cambodia
Steffen Tange, Consultant Psychology, Denmark
Soe Nyi Nyi, Nutritionist, Myanmar
Lucas Lim, Dietician, Malaysia

Content Reviewers – people with Type 1 Diabetes:
Jerry Gore, Co-Founder A4D, Mountaineer, UK
Diana Maynard, T1D advocate, UK
Emelyne Carmen Ho, College Student, Malaysia
Molly Seal, College Student, UK

Content Reviewers – parents with T1D child:
Samantha Seal, Teacher, Thailand
Kim Than, Deputy Country Director – Plan International, Cambodia


What is Type 1 diabetes?


Read more

What is insulin and what are the different types?

What is insulin and what are the different types?

Why is it important to monitor blood glucose levels?

Why is it important to monitor blood glucose levels?


What is Type 1 Diabetes?

What is Type 1 Diabetes?


Take the Quizz

Take the quizz on Type 1 diabetes now!


UK Registered Charity: 1166447
9, Parkfield Road, Taunton, Somerset
TA1 4RL, United Kingdom