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Type 1 Diabetes. Pennington Biomedical Research Center Division of Education. Types of Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes mellitus (DM) Type 2 Diabetes mellitus (DM) Gestational Diabetes. Type 1: Overview. Usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Previously known as “juvenile diabetes”.

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Type 1 Diabetes

Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Division of Education

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Types of Diabetes

  • Type 1 Diabetes mellitus (DM)

  • Type 2 Diabetes mellitus (DM)

  • Gestational Diabetes

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Type 1: Overview

  • Usually diagnosed in children and young adults.

  • Previously known as “juvenile diabetes”.

  • In this type of diabetes, the body does not produce insulin.

  • Insulin is required in order for the body to properly use sugar, in the form of glucose.

  • Sugar is the basic fuel for the cells in the body.

  • Insulin’s role is to take the sugar from the blood and carry it into cells where it can be used to provide energy for the body to work.

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About Insulin

  • Insulin is a hormone made from beta cells inside of the pancreas.

  • With each meal consumed, beta cells release insulin in order to help the body use or store the blood glucose it gets from foods.

  • With Type 1 Diabetes; however, the pancreas no longer makes insulin.

  • These beta cells have been destroyed for some reason and insulin shots are thus required in order for the body to use the glucose coming from meals.

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More on Insulin

  • Insulin cannot be taken in pill form.

  • If it were to be consumed orally, it would break down during digestion just like normal proteins in your food.

  • Insulin must be injected into the fat under your skin in order for it to get into your bloodstream.

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Characteristics of Insulin

  • There are three characteristics of insulin:

    • Onset is the length of time before insulin reaches the bloodstream and begins lowering blood glucose.

    • Peaktime is the time during which insulin is at maximum strength in terms of lowering blood glucose.

    • Duration is how insulin continues to lower blood glucose.

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The Basics of Insulin: 4 Types

  • Rapid-acting insulin

  • Regular or short-acting insulin

  • Intermediate-acting insulin

  • Long-acting insulin

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Rapid-acting Insulin

  • Examples: insulin lispro or insulin aspart

  • Onset: Begins to work at about 5 minutes

  • Peaktime: Peak is about 1 hour

  • Duration: Continues to work for about 2-4 hours

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Regular or Short-acting Insulin

  • Onset: Reaches the bloodstream within 30 minutes

    after injection.

  • Peaktime: Peaks anywhere from 2-3 hours after injection.

  • Duration: Effective for approximately 3-6 hours.

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Intermediate-acting Insulin

  • Onset: Reaches the blood stream about 2 to 4 hours

    after injection.

  • Peaktime: Peaks 4-12 hours later.

  • Duration: Effective for about 12 to 18 hours.

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Long-acting Insulin

  • Onset: Reaches the bloodstream 6-10 hours after injection

  • Duration: Usually effective for 20-24 hours

  • There is also a very long-acting insulin, known as glargine insulin, which starts to lower blood glucose levels, on average, 1 hour after injection and keeps working evenly for 24 hours after injection.

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Premixed Insulin

  • Premixed insulin is also an option for individuals with Type 1 Diabetes.

  • It is helpful for individuals who have trouble drawing up insulin out of two bottles or have difficulty in reading the correct directions and dosages.

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Fine-Tuning Your Blood Glucose

  • There are many factors that influence your blood glucose levels, including:

    • What you eat

    • How much and when you exercise

    • Where you inject your insulin

    • When you take your insulin injections

    • Illness

    • Stress

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Information on Storage of Insulin

  • Manufacturers do recommend storing insulin in the refrigerator; however, injecting cold insulin sometimes makes the injection more painful.

  • You can store insulin in use at room temperature.

  • Insulin stored at room temperature will last for 1 month.

  • If purchasing several bottles at once, store your supply in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life.

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Information on Storage of Insulin

  • Do not store insulin near extreme heat or extreme cold.

  • Never store in the freezer, direct sunlight, or in the glove compartment of a car.

  • Check expiration date- especially important if you have had the bottle for a while

  • Make sure the insulin looks normal before you draw it into the syringe

  • If there is any discoloration, particles, “frosting”, or crystals in the solution, do not use it. Return the unopened bottle to your pharmacy and exchange and/or refund it.

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Conditions that can arise from Type 1 DM

  • Hypoglycemia

  • Hyperglycemia

  • Ketoacidosis

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  • A condition arising due to low blood glucose

  • Happens from time to time in everyone with diabetes

  • Sometimes referred to as an “insulin reaction”

  • Must be treated before immediately before symptoms worsen

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Pale skin color

Sudden moodiness or behavior changes, such as crying for no apparent reason

Clumsy or jerky movements


Difficulty paying attention, or confusion

Tingling sensations around the mouth

Hypoglycemia: The Symptoms

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How to Know When Your Blood Sugar is Low?

  • Part of managing diabetes is to check your blood glucose often.

  • Ask your doctor how often you should check your blood sugar and what your levels should be.

  • Results from checking your level will indicate whether it is low or not.

  • It is important to follow your blood glucose monitoring schedule.

  • It is also important to check any time that you feel your blood sugar might be low and treat accordingly.

  • The basic rule is: “When in doubt, treat.”

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How to Treat Hypoglycemia?

  • The quickest way to raise your blood glucose and treat hypoglycemia is with some form of sugar. Either of the following would work:

    • 3 glucose tablets*

    • ½ cup of fruit juice

    • 5-6 pieces of hard candy

* Tablets can be purchased at your local drug store

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How to Treat Hypoglycemia?

  • Once you have checked your blood glucose and treated the hypoglycemia, wait 15-20 minutes and check again.

  • If blood glucose is still low and symptoms have not went away, repeat the treatment.

  • After you feel better, continue eating your regular meals and snacks as planned to keep blood glucose levels up.

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Treatment should be immediate!

  • It is very important to treat hypoglycemia quickly.

  • There is the potential of it getting worse if untreated, causing you to pass out.

  • If you pass out, you will need immediate treatment, such as an injection of glucagon or emergency treatment at the hospital.

  • Glucagon raises blood glucose. Like insulin, it too is injected. Your doctor can prescribe it to you and teach you to use it when needed.

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Hypoglycemia: Precautions!

  • If you pass out from hypoglycemia, people should:

    • NOT inject insulin

    • NOT give you food or fluids.

    • NOT put their hands in your mouth

    • Inject glucagon

    • Call for emergency help

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  • A technical term for high blood glucose

  • Can be a serious problem if you don’t treat it

  • Hyperglycemia can happen when the body has too little, or not enough insulin or when the body can’t use insulin properly.

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High blood glucose

High levels of sugar in the urine

Frequent urination

Increased thirst

Hyperglycemia: The Symptoms

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What Could Cause Hyperglycemia?

  • Eating more than planned

  • Exercising less than planned

  • Stress of an illness, such as the cold or flu

  • Other stresses, such as family conflicts or dating problems

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How to Treat Hyperglycemia?

  • Often, you can lower your blood glucose level by exercising.

  • However, if your blood glucose level is above 240 mg/dl, check your urine for ketones.

  • If there are ketones present, Do Not Exercise!

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How to Treat Hyperglycemia?

  • Also, cutting down on the amount of food you eat may help.

  • If exercise and changes in diet do not help, talk with your doctor about possibly changing the amount of insulin or the timing of when you take it.

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So, What are Ketones?

  • Ketones are acids that build up in the blood.

  • They appear in the urine when the body doesn’t have enough insulin.

  • They can poison the body.

  • They are also an indicator that your diabetes is getting out of control or that you are getting sick.

  • They are present in high amounts in a condition known as: Ketoacidosis.

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  • Results from a failure to treat hyperglycemia

  • Rarely occurs in individuals with type 2 diabetes

  • It is a serious condition that can lead to diabetic coma or even death.

  • Treatment for this condition usually takes place in the hospital.

  • You can prevent this by learning the warning signs and by checking blood and urine regularly.

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Thirst or a very dry mouth

Frequent urination

High blood glucose (sugar) levels

High levels of ketones in the urine

Constantly feeling tired

Dry or flushed skin

Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain

A hard time breathing (short, deep breaths)

Fruity odor on breath

A hard time paying attention or confusion

Ketoacidosis:Warning Signs

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Possible Causes of Ketoacidosis?

  • Not getting enough insulin. Maybe you didn’t inject enough or perhaps your body could need more insulin than usual because of illness. Without sufficient insulin, your body begins to break down fat for energy.

  • Not enough food. When people are sick, they often do not feel like eating. High ketones may result. This may also occur someone misses a meal.

  • An insulin reaction (low blood glucose). When blood glucose levels fall too low, the body must use fat to get energy. If testing shows high ketones in the morning, its likely that the person may have had an insulin reaction while asleep.

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Ketoacidosis: The bottom line

  • Ketoacidosis is dangerous and serious.

  • If you have any of the mentioned symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately or go to the nearest emergency room of your local hospital.

  • Another important note is that you never want to exercise when your urine test shows ketones and your blood glucose is high. High ketones and high blood glucose can mean that your diabetes is out of control.

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Importance of Monitoring Blood Glucose

  • For those with diabetes, keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible is very important.

  • Keeping blood glucose in your target range can help prevent or delay the start of diabetes complications, such as:

    • Nerve, eye, kidney, or blood vessel damage.

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Who Should Check?

  • Experts believe that anyone with diabetes can benefit from checking their blood glucose.

  • The American Diabetes Association recommends blood glucose checks if you have diabetes and are:

  • Taking insulin or diabetes pills

  • On intensive insulin therapy

  • Pregnant

  • Having a hard time controlling your blood glucose levels

  • Having severe low blood glucose levels or ketones from

  • high blood glucose levels

  • Having low blood glucose levels without usual warning signs

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Division of Education

Phillip Brantley, PhD, DirectorPennington Biomedical Research CenterClaude Bouchard, PhD, Executive Director

Heli J. Roy, PhD, RDShanna Lundy, BS

Beth Kalicki

Edited : October 2009

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About Our Company

  • The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is a world-renowned nutrition research center.

  • Mission:

  • To promote healthier lives through research and education in nutrition and preventive medicine.

  • The Pennington Center has several research areas, including:

  • Clinical Obesity Research

  • Experimental Obesity

  • Functional Foods

  • Health and Performance Enhancement

  • Nutrition and Chronic Diseases

  • Nutrition and the Brain

  • Dementia, Alzheimer’s and healthy aging

  • Diet, exercise, weight loss and weight loss maintenance

  • The research fostered in these areas can have a profound impact on healthy living and on the prevention of common chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis.

  • The Division of Education provides education and information to the scientific community and the public about research findings, training programs and research areas, and coordinates educational events for the public on various health issues.

  • We invite people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the exciting research studies being conducted at the Pennington  Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you would like to take part, visit the clinical trials web page at www.pbrc.edu or call (225) 763-3000.

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  • All diabetes-related information is from the American Diabetes Association. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org

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