About This Condition
Diabetes mellitus is the reduced ability, or inability, to metabolize carbohydrates resulting from inadequate insulin production or utilization. Several types of diabetes exist: type 1, type 2, and gestational. This article concerns type 1 diabetes, in which autoimmune destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas results in insulin deficiency.
People with all forms of diabetes face increased risks of an array of complications due to chronically elevated blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia). Long-term hyperglycemia related to type 1 diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney and nerve damage, Alzheimer's disease, poor wound healing, infections, and eye problems including retinopathy and cataracts.1,2,3
People with type 1 diabetes need insulin replacement and should work with the doctor prescribing their insulin before using any of the lifestyle or dietary changes mentioned in this article. Any change that makes the body more responsive to insulin could require adjustments in insulin dosage that the treating physician must supervise.4