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What Is Type 1 Diabetes?


Recently, the Indian Council of Medical Research (IMCR) released guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment, and management for type-1 diabetes.

  • This is the first time the ICMR has issued guidelines specifically for type 1 diabetes, which is rarer than type 2 — only 2% of all hospital cases of diabetes in the country are type 1 — but which is being diagnosed more frequently in recent years.


GS II- Health and Education

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Diabetes?
  2. What is type 1 diabetes?
  3. How rare is it?
  4. Who is at risk of type 1 diabetes?

What is Diabetes?

  • Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.
  • Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream.
  • When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin.

What is type 1 diabetes?

  • Type 1 diabetes is a condition where the pancreas completely stops producing insulin, the hormone responsible for controlling the level of glucose in blood by increasing or decreasing absorption to the liver, fat, and other cells of the body.
  • This is unlike type 2 diabetes — which accounts for over 90% of all diabetes cases in the country — where the body’s insulin production either goes down or the cells become resistant to the insulin.
  • Type 1 diabetes is predominantly diagnosed in children and adolescents.
  • Although the prevalence is less, it is much more severe than type 2.
  • Unlike type 2 diabetes where the body produces some insulin and which can be managed using various pills, if a person with type 1 diabetes stops taking their insulin, they die within weeks.
  • Children with the condition usually present to the hospital with severe symptoms of frequent urination, and extreme thirst, and nearly a third of them have diabetic ketoacidosis (a serious condition where the body has a high concentration of ketones, a molecule produced when the body isn’t able to absorb glucose for energy and starts breaking down fats instead).

How rare is it?

  • There are over 10 lakh children and adolescents living with type 1 diabetes in the world, with India accounting for the highest number.
  • Of the 2.5 lakh people living with type 1 diabetes in India, 90,000 to 1 lakh are under the age of 14 years.
  • For context, the total number of people in India living with diabetes was 7.7 crore in 2019.
  • Among individuals who develop diabetes under the age of 25 years, 25.3% have type 2.

Who is at risk of type 1 diabetes?

  • The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, but it is thought to be an auto-immune condition where the body’s immune system destroys the islets cells on the pancreas that produce insulin.
  • Genetic factors play a role in determining whether a person will get type-1 diabetes.
  • The risk of the disease in a child is 3% when the mother has it, 5% when the father has it, and 8% when a sibling has it.
  • The presence of certain genes is also strongly associated with the disease.

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023