Diabetes Mellitus Type 1: Symptoms, Complications, and Treatment


In this article we will look at:

You can click on any of the links above to navigate to the section of your interest. 

What is diabetes mellitus type 1?

Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 is the most severe form of diabetes, in which not enough insulin is produced by the body. The lack of insulin results in high blood sugar levels.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows your body to use glucose (a type of sugar found in many carbohydrates) for energy. Insulin also helps to balance your blood glucose or blood sugar levels, by preventing it from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).

Following are the normal and diabetic blood sugar levels:

Plasma Glucose Test





Below 11.1 mmol/l

Below 200 mg/dl


More than 11.1mmol/l

More than 200 mg/dl


Below 6.1 mmol/l

Below 108 mg/dl

6.1 to 6.9 mmol/l

108 to 125 mg/dl

More than 7.0 mmol/l

More than 126 mg/dl

2 Hour Post-Prandial

Below 7.8 mmol/l

Below 140 mg/dl

7.8 to 11.0 mmol/l

140 to 199 mg/dl

More than 11.1mmol/l

More than 200 mg/dl

Please Note: If your glucose levels are below 50 mg/dL or above 200 mg/dL you need to be admitted to the emergency room without delay.

How does diabetes type 1 occur?

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. Medical experts agree on the fact that this is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system of the body is mistakenly conditioned to attack and destroy the cells in the pancreas, which produces the hormone insulin.

Insulin helps to unlock the cells of the body to allow the sugar (glucose) to enter them so that the glucose is transformed into energy. If there is more sugar in the body than is required, the insulin helps to store the sugar in the liver and releases it when the blood sugar level is low, or when the body needs more sugar, such as in between meals or during vigorous physical activity. Therefore, insulin helps to balance out the blood sugar level and keep it in a normal range. As blood sugar level increases, the pancreas secrete more insulin.

If your body does not produce enough insulin or the cells in your body are resistant to the effects of insulin, you may develop hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). If the blood sugar levels stay elevated for long periods of time it can lead to long-term complications.

In diabetes type 1, insulin does not get produced in the body. Without insulin, the cells are starved of energy, and the sugar levels keep rising in the blood.

Who is prone to diabetes type 1?

People can be prone to diabetes mellitus type 1 due to :

  • Viral Infections: such as German measles, coxsackie, and mumps, which can prompt the immune system to turn against the body instead of fighting for it.
  • Ethnicity: Some ethnicities have a higher incidence of diabetes mellitus type 1
  • Family History: If anyone in your family has type 1 diabetes, you are at an increased risk of developing it.
  • Cold Weather: It has been observed that there are more occurrences of type 1 diabetes among people living in colder climates.
  • Childhood Diet: It has been observed that children who were breastfed were less likely to develop type 1 diabetes. On the contrary, children who were given cow’s milk at an early age have a higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes.


What are the symptoms of diabetes mellitus type 1? How is diabetes type 1 diagnosed?

Symptoms of high blood sugar or Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 include:

  • Excessive urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow healing wounds


Diagnosis of diabetes type 1 usually includes one or more blood tests:

  • The doctor will advise you to undergo a Glycated haemoglobin (A1C) test. This test indicates your blood sugar levels for the past two to three months.This test measures the percentage of haemoglobin — an oxygen-transporting protein in red blood cells — to which the blood sugar is attached. A high percentage of haemoglobin (6.5 % or higher) indicates diabetes.
  • After the Glycated haemoglobin (A1C) test the doctor will ask you to undergo an autoantibody test, which checks for antibodies that attack the pancreatic cells.

The doctor may also ask you to undergo a Random Blood Sugar Test, Fasting Blood Sugar Test and an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT).

What are the complications of diabetes type 1?

If not managed properly, diabetes type 1 can lead to some serious complications such as:

  • Hypoglycemia or Low Blood Sugar - Low blood sugar develops when you take more than the required dosage of insulin.
  • Microvascular Complications - Damage to both tiny and large blood vessels due to uncontrolled blood glucose which may lead to eye, kidney or nerve diseases.
  • Macrovascular Complications - Plaque build up in the in the arteries leading to possible heart attack or stroke.

What is the treatment for diabetes type 1?

Medical Treatment

The medical treatment for diabetes type 1 includes taking insulin either through injections or through insulin pumps. Additional medicines may be prescribed by the doctor to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. Regularly checking your blood sugar levels is necessary.

Please consult a general physician, diabetologist or an endocrinologist if you suspect that you suffer from symptoms of diabetes.


Physical activity is important for you regardless of the fact that you suffer from Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 or Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.

It is advisable to consult with your doctor to find out which forms of exercises suit you the best.
If you have Diabetes Type 1 you need to monitor your blood sugar before, during and after exercising. You may experience a drop in your blood glucose after exercising and therefore it is important to take precautions.
For example, you may need to take a lower dose of insulin and increase your carbohydrate intake before exercising.

Warning: To avoid any serious risk to your health please consult your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen. You may need to change your diet, and the dosage of insulin, or of other medicines before you start exercising.

Would you like to consult a doctor for Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 ?

Patient Experiences

B Roy
Treatment for Diabetes and Arthritis
I looked up Dr Choudhuri from Practo. I found him for my parents. My mother suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, father from osteoarthritis. They have visited multiple doctors, without much relief of pain. Someone suggested knee replacement which my father didn't want. We visited Dr both in loknath medical hall & health etc. I must say his clinic health etc is much bigger & spacious. Dr choudhuri throughly examined my parents, looked into all their old files. He repeated few tests & xrays which were not done before, or done a lot before. Recent tests were not repeated. He told that my mother was having rheumatoid arthritis, knee osteoarthritis, osteoporosis. My father was having severe both knee osteoarthritis. He gave medicines & exercises for my mother, and suggested physiotherapy. For my father he gave some injections which he called viscosupplementation. The injections were costly, was given by him only in the knees. Then he told to follow up after 3 months (to my surprise). And I must say, the injections worked like wonders. He gave total of 5 injections, one every week. And my father is now feeling much better. He is able to walk without any stick, climb stairs, much less pain. My mother also felt much better with her treatment. The good thing is he was always available over phone. He even visited my father once at home, when he fell ill with fever. He has now become our family physician. My fathers blood pressure, mothers diabetes all are under his treatment now. And my parents are really feeling much better. His approach, his behavior all are just remarkable. And he always adjusts his times according to his patients convenience. I am really lucky to find such a nice doctor. Thank you practo....Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Bodhisatwa Choudhuri
Lokenath Medical Hall
Well Controlled Blood Sugar
I had been having great problems in controlling my Diabetes as itd type 1diabetes, despite taking multiple injections per day it was never comfortable. ..used to many low sugar episodes. ..But post meeting/ consultation with Dr.Raja and team , I feel very comfortable. .I have no hypo episode s and my blood sugars are very well controlled. I feel very confident after meeting Dr.Raja and team.....Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Raja Selvarajan
Apollo Clinic, Koramangala
Satisfied With the Consultation & Treatment of Diabetes
Dr. Pritam Gupta is one of the very good diabetologists I have ever seen. He is very friendly and warm. He holds a rich experience of 46 years in this field. I am suffering from diabetes & I got this disease heredity from my parents. I was in class 10th when Dr. Pritam diagnosed this problem. I had no clue about the disease & its consuquences. I thought diabetologists are like typical strict doctors, but he was very humble. Although he didn't explain, too much science behind why a particular medicine was being prescribed. He handled me & my family really well at the same time. He always diagnosed the right problem & prescribe accordingly. He explained to me about my course of treatment very patiently. He told me very very minute details as well,eg., how to handle insulin, how we can vary the dosage according to the diet, changing the needle & etc. He was not in a hurry to look other patients. I am very much satisfied with the consultation & treatment. I would definitely recommend Dr. Pritam Gupta to my friends & family. Now, it has been more than10 years & I am absolutely fit and healthy. I still remember Dr. Pritam says, “ You are your own doctor”. Thanks a ton to Dr. Pritam Gupta. Stay blessed doctor sahab ☺ ...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Pritam Gupta
Dr.Pritam Gupta's Clinic
Yashwanth BBV
Effective Consultation for Diabetes Type 1
He is good . He seems strict but to be honest . he is little funny and quite pampering. He changed my insulin prescription. And suggested some good food habits . Anyways . being in such big hospital. I cannot expect him to spend more time regarding my issue . He cleared in about 10 min hardly. But worth a visit. Willing to have long term consultation with him for my Type 1 Diabetes ...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Shankar Kumar
Manipal Hospital OAR
Satisfied With Diabetes Treatment
********* ******* I have been to two diabetologists previously *** * ***** ********* ********** *** **** ******* The way he handles the patient is so humble and rather he explains each and every point very patiently... now I told my sissy and now she is also his patient...in a while he will definitely be our total family's doctor......Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Sanjai Srinivasan R
Billroth Hospitals

Questions answered by trusted doctors

Verified User
He is having diabetes and it's much more than the normal level both in fasting as well as random. But he isn't having any problem like he never felt any symptoms of diabetes. Now he got medical check up and he came to know. Any quick recovery method of this?? Plzz suggest..
Dr. Haldhar Patel
Alternative Medicine, Raipur
Elm+Rescue 2drop with half glass of water daily
Dr. Mahendra Kumar
Homoeopath, Kota
Regular exercise , restrictions in diet according diabetic patient & lowering stress are very helpful in this . But By homoeopathic constitutional medicine , You will become very healthy person. & serum insulin level as well as sugar levels become very normal without medications after treatment. For it You should consult a classical homoeopath or Login at www.homeopathy4you.in
Dr. Anirudh Agrawal
General Physician, Delhi
Looase weight. Exercise regularly and control diet. Check blood sugar Fasting PP and HbA1C again once in 2-3 weeks.
Ask health queries and get free answers from doctors in 24 hrs

Related videos

Related articles

Thalassemia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Thalassemia is a group of inherited blood disorders, which inhibits the body's ability to produce hemoglobin and rbc. Know more about Thalassemia, its causes, symptoms, treatment and other useful facts, links and videos on Health-Wiki | Practo

Breast Cancer Treatment in India

Breast cancer occurs when healthy cells of breast tissue change and may begin to grow out of control which can appear as a lump within breast tissue. Breast Cancer Treatment includes chemotherapy, radiotherapy,surgery depend on the type of cancer.

Rhinoplasty in India

Rhinoplasty is known as nose job. It is a plastic surgery which helps in reconstructing and correcting the shape of the nose. Reconstructive surgery and Cosmetic surgery are the two types. Nose job helps in improving the appearance of the nose.