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Author(s): Wade Haaland

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

This diagram shows where in the glucose metabolic pathway Type 1 diabetics differ from healthy individuals.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, meaning the body's immune system is not functioning properly and attacks the body itself. In Type 1 diabetes, the antibodies produced by the immune system bind to the β-cells, which then are destroyed by specialized immune cells. Because the β-cells are destroyed, no insulin is produced, and therefore, the peripheral tissues (muscle and fat) do not receive a signal that allows for glucose uptake. Ultimately, this condition causes glucose levels in the bloodstream to remain high. Individuals with Type 1 DM are dependent on exogenous (produced outside the body) sources of insulin.