We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Patient Page |

Type 1 Diabetes FREE

Janet M. Torpy, MD, Writer; Cassio Lynm, MA, Illustrator; Richard M. Glass, MD, Editor
JAMA. 2007;298(12):1472. doi:10.1001/jama.298.12.1472.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Our bodies need fuel for proper function. Glucose (sugar) is the fuel that our cells use to produce energy. In order to process the sugar we eat in various foods, our bodies produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by beta cells, clusters of cells in the pancreas (an organ located in the upper abdomen). In type 1 diabetes, the beta cells in the pancreas are unable to make insulin because of autoimmune disease. This means that the body's immune system makes autoantibodies that attack and destroy the pancreatic beta cells. Type 2 diabetes is the result of the body's inability to properly use the insulin made by the pancreas and almost always occurs in adults and children who are overweight. Because type 1 diabetes usually starts in childhood, it is sometimes called juvenile diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a serious illness that cannot be cured, but it can be treated and controlled. The September 26, 2007, issue of JAMA includes an article about children at risk for type 1 diabetes. This Patient Page is based on one previously published in the October 22/29, 2003, issue of JAMA.


  • Thirst

  • Frequent urination

  • Weight loss

  • Poor infant growth

  • High blood glucose level


  • Diabetic ketoacidosis—a life-threatening medical condition, also known as diabetic coma, caused by the body's need to break down fats for energy instead of using sugars

  • Kidney failure

  • Diabetic retinopathy—damage to the retina of the eye

  • Gastroparesis—the stomach does not empty properly, allowing partially digested food to accumulate

  • Diabetic neuropathy—loss of sensation and nerve control of body functions

  • Increased occurrence of infections

  • Poor circulation, especially in the feet and legs

  • Coronary heart disease


  • Insulin injections or an insulin pump—oral medications do not work

  • Diet

  • Exercise

  • Frequent checks of blood glucose levels

  • Management of other medical problems including high blood pressure and coronary heart disease

  • Screening for and early recognition of diabetes complications

  • Kidney dialysis or transplantation for kidney failure



To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link on JAMA's Web site at http://www.jama.com. Many are available in English and Spanish. A Patient Page on diabetes and the kidney was published in the June 25, 2003, issue; one on insulin was published in the May 7, 2003, issue; one on diabetes was published in the May 15, 2002, issue; one on type 2 diabetes in children was published in the September 26, 2001, issue; and one on managing type 2 diabetes was published in the January 12, 2000, issue.

Sources: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, American Diabetes Association

The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 203/259-8724.




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Spanish Patient Pages
Supplemental Content

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles

The Rational Clinical Examination: Evidence-Based Clinical Diagnosis
Diabetes, Foot Ulcer

Users' Guides to the Medical Literature: A Manual for Evidence-Based Clinical Practice, 3rd ed
Clarifying Your Question