Understanding Type 1 Diabetes
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: You or someone may have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This video will help you understand what it is and why it's important to keep it under control. Type 1 diabetes is a condition where your pancreas makes little or no insulin. Insulin is a chemical your body needs to keep your blood sugar at a normal level. Carbohydrates are substances your body uses to make energy. After you eat food that contains carbohydrates, it eventually goes to your small intestine. In your small intestine, the food is broken down into single sugar molecules called glucose. The cells in your small intestine soak up the sugars, which pass into your bloodstream. When the blood reaches your pancreas, it detects the high amount of sugar in your blood. Normally, this causes your pancreas to put a chemical called insulin into your bloodstream. The insulin reduces the amount of sugar in your blood to a healthy level. How does insulin do this? As the blood moves through your body, the insulin and sugar exit the bloodstream into your tissues to reach your cells. Most cells have structures on their surfaces called insulin receptors. When insulin flows by, it attaches to the receptor. The insulin acts like a key in a lock to open up the cell so the sugar can get inside. Now your cell can use the sugar to make the energy it needs to work properly, and your blood sugar level drops back to its normal range. If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas loses its ability to make enough or any insulin. This can result in high blood sugar levels and other complications. In type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks some cells in your pancreas by mistake. As a result, your pancreas makes little or no insulin. Without insulin, sugar cannot get into your cells. Without sugar, your cells don't have energy. And since the sugar is locked out of your cells, it builds up to a high level in your bloodstream. This is a condition called hyperglycemia, which can lead to serious complications. If you have questions about type 1 diabetes or any medications you have been prescribed, speak with your doctor. It is important to take your medications as directed by your doctor. Tell him or her about any side effects you have.