Type 1 diabetes occurs most often in children, adolescents or young adults. Approximately 10% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes used to be called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body produces little or no insulin.
People with type 1 diabetes are therefore dependent on daily insulin injections for their survival.
Diagnosis of type 1 diabetes
Only a laboratory blood test can determine the state of your health with certainty. The test measures the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood. Here are the suggested reference values for a diagnosis by the Canadian Diabetes Association 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes in Canada:
|Fasting blood glucose level
|7 mmol/L or higher
|Blood glucose level 2 hours after drinking a liquid containing 75 g of glucose
|11.1 mmol/L or higher
|Blood glucose level at any time of day
|11.1 mmol/L or higher With classic symptoms of diabetes
Sometimes, a second blood test is necessary to confirm the initial results.
In rare cases, a test for type 1 antibody markers is done to confirm the type of diabetes.
The « Honeymoon Period »
We call it the honeymoon period because blood glucose (sugar) levels are easier to control.
Shortly after a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, some people experience what is known as a honeymoon period. This transition period is characterized by a significant decline in the person’s need for insulin injections. It lasts from six to nine months, on average, but can last up to two years.
This phenomenon is due to the small amount of insulin still being secreted by the few remaining healthy pancreatic cells. Eventually, type 1 diabetes’s autoimmune action will completely destroy those cells. In the total absence of insulin secretion, blood glucose (sugar) levels will rise and the dosages of injected insulin will have to be increased accordingly.