Translate
Translate this website into the following languages:



Close Tab
Donations
UC San Diego Health
menu iconMenu
search iconSearch

Type 1 Diabetes

Video: Diabetes Patient Climbs to New Heights

Learn how ultra-athlete Maggie Crawford manages her type I diabetes.

Comprehensive Diabetes Care

At UC San Diego Health, we recognize the work that adults with type 1 diabetes and their families do every day to live with this disease. Our goal is to equip you with:

  • Evidence-based therapies to live well with type 1 diabetes.
  • The best tools to manage blood glucose, including insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors.
  • Education on diabetes management tools and therapies.
  • Accurate, up-to-date information on diabetes and its complications.
  • Responsive and reliable advice for managing the highs and lows of life with type 1 diabetes.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease.

The immune system protects us from viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi. In autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease or multiple sclerosis, the immune system attacks the body’s own healthy cells.

Insulin pump and vial of insulin.

An insulin pump and vial of insulin. There are numerous types of insulin pumps which offer different features to users.

Insulin

In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas (beta cells).

Insulin is necessary for survival. Without insulin, the body can’t make use of food energy by allowing blood glucose to pass into our bodies’ cells.

When the beta cells are destroyed, food energy — in the form of blood glucose — stays in the blood, where it can damage the rest of the body. To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin, either by injection multiple times a day or through an insulin pump (like the one shown here).

Symptoms

Type 1 diabetes is far less common than type 2 diabetes, accounting for approximately 5 percent of people with diabetes in the United States.

Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in children, but can come on at any age.

The warning signs are:

Did You Know?

Nearly 1 in every 10 people with type 1 diabetes test positive for antibodies that indicate celiac disease. See how we diagnose and treat celiac disease.

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Exhaustion
  • Hunger
  • Vision changes
  • Sudden weight loss

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is typically made with a blood glucose test.

Woman with type 1 diabetes testing her blood sugar.

A diagnosis can also be made with a blood test that checks for certain autoantibodies which indicate that the immune system has begun attacking the insulin-producing beta cells.

Medical researchers suspect that the disease is partly genetic and partly environmental. That means that those who have a family history of autoimmune diseases or type 1 diabetes are at a higher risk of developing the disease.

In addition, there may be a virus, bacteria or other stressor to the body that sets off the autoimmune attack.

Living with Type 1 Diabetes

You are the most important person when it comes to managing your diabetes.

You should know how to:

  • Check blood glucose.
  • Adjust food intake and insulin to manage blood sugar during exercise, travel, and times of stress and sickness.
  • Recognize and treat hypoglycemia.

What we provide:

  • Top ranked endocrine care (U.S. News & World Report 2013-2014).
  • Shared medical appointments for more quality time with diabetes experts, and the opportunity to learn from others living with type 1 diabetes.
  • 5 clinic locations in San Diego and Encinitas.
  • Diabetes education classes in a group or individual setting for adults newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. ​bulletSee our Diabetes Self-Management Clinic.

The Type 1 Diabetes Community

People living with type 1 diabetes in San Diego (or raising children with the condition) have access to support and community networks. Living with chronic disease takes 24/7 attention – something even doctors forget.

We encourage people with type 1 diabetes to stay empowered to manage the disease and learn from other people living with the condition.

Online Resources

JDRF (Formerly Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation): The largest charitable support of type 1 diabetes research. Provides adult support and networking activities, online resources, mentoring program, as well as numerous activities for families with children with type 1 diabetes.

American Diabetes Association: Founded in 1940, the ADA funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes. They deliver services to hundreds of communities across the U.S., giving voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes.

Taking Control of Your Diabetes: Based in San Diego, this organization provides educational events for people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes around the country.

Diabetes Online Community: An unofficial group of people across the world who live openly with their diabetes – on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and websites.

More resources

Contact Us

Call 800-926-8273

Meet Our Specialists

Shared Medical Appointments

Rare, rushed visits with a doctor benefit no one. You can get more quality time with our diabetes experts by participating in a shared medical appointment. Accomplish the same goals of an individual appointment with the added benefit of receiving more discussion with your doctor and support from others.

Call 858-657-1636 for an appointment.

bulletMore on shared appointments.

Our bimonthly newsletter delivers healthy lifestyle tips, patient stories and research discovery news. Subscribe: