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physician consulting female patient regarding type 1 diabetes diagnosis

Get Type 1 diabetes care

Find a Type 1 diabetes specialist

Type 1 diabetes

If you have Type 1 diabetes, you’re in good company. Around 40,000 people are diagnosed each year in the United States, so Type 1 diabetes is a common condition. But you can get the individualized care you need.

What is Type 1 diabetes?

If your pancreas can’t make enough insulin, you develop Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease. Insulin is a hormone that gives your cells energy by processing sugar from carbohydrates in the food you eat.

When your body can’t process insulin, your blood sugar levels spike and drop, making you feel sick. There’s no cure for Type 1 diabetes, but you can manage it — and live your life without focusing on it.

Type 1 diabetes symptoms

Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, can develop at any age. But it usually begins during childhood.

Type 1 diabetes symptoms may include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Being extremely tired
  • Getting infections often
  • Needing to urinate often
  • Losing weight quickly
  • Vomiting

Having these symptoms doesn’t automatically mean you have Type 1 diabetes. But it’s important to talk to your doctor to rule out any health issues.

Type 1 diabetes risk factors

Certain behaviors, genetics and risk factors increase your chances of developing Type 1 diabetes. These include:

  • Family history: If you have a family member with Type 1 diabetes, you have a higher risk of developing it.
  • Age: Most people are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as children, typically before age 14. It’s possible, though rare, to be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes later in life.
  • Genetics: Specific genes can increase a child’s chance of having Type 1 diabetes. Genetic testing can find out if your child is at a higher risk.

Diagnosing Type 1 diabetes

Your doctor may do several blood tests to check for Type 1 diabetes. These tests find out if antibodies are present and will check for:

  • Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65), an indicator of autoimmune disease
  • Anti-islet cells, which block the production of insulin
  • C-peptide levels, a measure of your naturally produced insulin

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Type 1 diabetes treatment

Living with Type 1 diabetes? You can learn to live even better. Through a holistic approach that puts you at the center, you can find the right balance of diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, glucose monitoring and medication.

Your team of diabetes specialists includes endocrinologists, primary care doctors, diabetes educators, clinical nutritionists, pharmacists, community health assistants and specialty physicians (just to name a few) — all working together to empower you along your journey to better health.

You’re unique — and so are your care needs. So we may recommend one or more of the following treatments for you:

Lifestyle coaching

Regular exercise and a healthy diet are important parts of managing Type 1 diabetes. Trained educators will help you understand the ins and outs of a healthy lifestyle.
Medication management

If you or your child has a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, you will be prescribed insulin. Insulin can be delivered through injections with a needle or through an insulin pump.

You'll wear an insulin pump (about the size of a deck of cards) on the outside of your body to get a continuous infusion of insulin throughout the day. The pump can also deliver insulin along with your meals and correct your blood sugar levels as needed.

Insulin pumps are often paired with continuous glucose sensors that provide real-time glucose level readings every five minutes.

Eye, foot and kidney care

Those with Type 1 diabetes have a higher risk for developing conditions of the eyes, feet and kidneys. We’ll connect you with the specialists you need, specifically trained to care for those with Type 1 diabetes.

Clinical research trials

Our extensive history with diabetes research and clinical trials means you get access to new treatments before they become widely available. Participating in a trial may help you get better even if standard approaches haven’t worked. Find a clinical trial.

Diabetes care at Geisinger

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, there are lots of resources to help you make healthy choices and take an active role in your care. We’re here for you, every step of the way.

  • Dedicated care team – After you receive a diabetes diagnosis, we don’t just write you a prescription and send you on your way. You’ll have a large network of doctors, nurses and specialists involved in your care — from your primary care doctor to an endocrinologist, a dietitian, a pharmacist, a cardiologist and a community health assistant.
  • Diabetes educators – Your diabetes educator will teach you about the importance of a healthy diet, show you how to check and monitor your blood sugar, provide you with resources for self-management, and get to know you and your family personally. They’re here to answer your questions and help you live your best life.
  • Diabetes classes – Our free education classes cover different topics each week, like diet and exercise, diabetes monitoring and how to lower your risk of complications. These sessions are a great way to connect with others and take charge of your health. Find diabetes classes near me.
  • Clinical nutrition assistance – Whether through group appointments, culinary medicine cooking classes, our Fresh Food Farmacy program or nutritional counseling, you’ll learn how what you eat affects your blood sugar — and how you can make healthier food choices.
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