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The Harmon Diabetes Center’s main location is on the campus of Research Medical Center at 2188 East Meyer Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64132

An office is also located in Independence at 17611 E. US Hwy 24, Suite 150, Independence, MO 64056

Phone: 816-276-9410
Fax: 816-523-3693

Type 1 Diabetes

According to American Diabetes Association, type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Previously known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes prevents the body from producing insulin. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin injections every day so their bodies can use glucose. Type 1 diabetes can begin at any age. It usually occurs in children or in young adults under age 30.

Causes of Type 1 Diabetes
To understand type 1 diabetes, first you must understand how glucose is normally processed in the body.

Glucose is a main source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and other tissues. Glucose comes from two major sources: the food you eat and your liver. During digestion, sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. Normally, sugar then enters cells with the help of insulin.

The hormone insulin comes from the pancreas, a gland located just behind the stomach. When you eat, your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream. As insulin circulates, it acts like a key by unlocking microscopic doors that allow sugar to enter your cells. Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As your blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.

Your liver acts as a glucose storage and manufacturing center. When your insulin levels are low — when you haven't eaten in a while, for example — your liver releases the stored glucose to keep your glucose level within a normal range.

In type 1 diabetes, your immune system — which normally fights harmful bacteria or viruses — attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This leaves you with little or no insulin. Instead of being transported into your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream.

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. Genetics may play a role. Exposure to certain viruses may serve as a trigger as well.

Risk factors
Although the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, family history may play a role. Your risk of developing type 1 diabetes increases if you have a parent or sibling who has type 1 diabetes.
Source: Mayo Clinic

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