Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition where the body’s immune system starts to destroy the cells of the pancreas, the part of the body that produces insulin [25838]. It is not known what causes this to happen. There is no cure for type 1 diabetes and it cannot be prevented [25838]. Type 1 diabetes occurs mostly in people under 30 years of age, however, new research suggests almost half of all people who develop the condition are diagnosed over the age of 30.

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not known but it does have a strong family link and has nothing to do with lifestyle, although maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important to manage the condition after it has been diagnosed [25838].

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are less likely to have type 1 diabetes than non-Indigenous people [29518]. Those who do will need insulin injections every day for the rest of their lives. Type 1 diabetes symptoms often appear suddenly and can be life-threatening, therefore it is usually diagnosed quite quickly [25838].

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Key resources

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Artwork

Janganpa Jukurrpa (Brush-tailed Possum Dreaming) by Phyllis Napurrurla Williams

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