Type 1 Diabetes Care

Understand type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Although it frequently appears in early adolescence, you can develop type 1 diabetes at any age. Take control of your health by taking advantage of the expertise, education, treatments and other support Novant Health offers.

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Type 1 diabetes FAQs

Who treats type 1 diabetes?

Primary care providers

At Novant Health, primary care providers typically play the leading role in screening for, preventing, diagnosing and treating diabetes. Your primary care provider may be a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner. They'll typically handle routine checkups, lab tests and prescriptions. They can refer you to other specialists for further examination and/or support if needed.


Endocrinologists specialize in the pancreas, which produces insulin for your body. Your endocrinologist will work closely with you to determine the proper blood sugar levels, prescribe an insulin replacement best suited for you and help you manage your diabetes through healthy habits and medication.

Diabetes educators

Diabetes educators include registered dietitians and nurses, who can help you create and monitor the success of your personal self-care plan and stick with it. This care can be particularly useful if you are caring for a child with diabetes, who may face new challenges as they enter school, start attending more social events or begin playing sports.

Potential complications

Low blood sugar can be related to your treatment, such as if you take too much insulin. However, overdoing exercise or waiting too long between meals can also be factors.

Novant Health team member teaching father and daughter how to monitor diabetes readings

Long-term high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels of the kidneys, leading to chronic kidney disease. You may have mild symptoms (or none) until the kidneys no longer function and dialysis is required.

You can lower your risk by monitoring your blood sugar and keeping it in the target range. It's also important to get your kidneys checked regularly to seek early treatment if there's an issue.

Young child getting an insulin injection from her mother

If you have diabetes, you're twice as likely to suffer heart disease or a stroke than those who don't have diabetes. Swings in your blood sugar levels — even slight ones — put stress on the blood vessels, which could lead to heart damage.

A male patient is sitting with a healthcare provider in lab coat. They are reviewing information on a smart tablet in an exam room.

Chronic exposure to high blood sugar levels can lead to a nerve damage condition called neuropathy. This damage can cause symptoms ranging from slight numbness to severe and debilitating pain. About half of all patients with diabetes develop neuropathy, which typically affects the legs and feet. This can lead to wounds that can only be treated through amputation.

A nurse is talking with and explain medication details to a patient.

If you have type 1 diabetes, you could be at risk for eye issues such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma and macular edema. Diabetes can cause inflammation, thickening of the retina and complications with blood vessels. Early detection is key, so watch for warning signs like:

  • Double or cloudy vision 
  • Poor night vision
  • Blurred vision in only one eye 
  • Redness or pain
  • Floaters or spots 
  • Loss of peripheral vision 
An elderly man looks at a pill bottle in his hand while sitting across the table from a doctor in the doctor's office.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious, sometimes life-threatening complication of diabetes. When insulin levels are too low, the body burns fat for energy. This process produces ketones, which can build up in the bloodstream.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is usually caused by missed insulin injections or an infection or illness that counters the effect of insulin. Warning signs include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Feeling weak and tired
  • Frequent urination
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feelings of confusion
Senior woman working out with dumbbells while sitting on a bench at the gym.