Type 1 Diabetes Prevention

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes refers to a condition where the glucose level, sugar in your blood, becomes too high. This occurs when your body cannot produce insulin, the hormone that controls blood glucose levels.1 

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong, chronic condition once it develops. People diagnosed with type 1 diabetes learn to manage the symptoms with treatment and lifestyle changes. Most commonly, symptoms are driven by taking insulin daily to control your blood glucose levels. 

As opposed to type 2 diabetes, it is essential to recognise that type 1 diabetes is not often linked to being overweight. While the causes of type 1 diabetes are still uncertain, many professionals are working to further uncover the mechanism behind this medical condition. Some suggest a vital genetic component to type 1 diabetes; for example, anyone with a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes has a slightly higher risk of developing the condition.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

The symptoms most commonly associated with type 1 diabetes are the following: 

  • Persistent thirst
  • Peeing more than usual, especially at night 
  • Unintended weight loss 
  • Cuts and grazes which heal slower than expected 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Feeling irritable or experiencing frequent mood changes 
  • Fruity-smelling breath 

Usually, your doctor will ask for a urine test and check your blood glucose level with a blood test. If you are experiencing any symptoms or think you might have diabetes, it is advised to book an appointment with your doctor for an assessment. 

There is No Known Way to Prevent Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta-cells in the pancreas. Therefore, to prevent type 1 diabetes, it is necessary to stop the immune system from attacking these cells in the first place. 

However, there is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Researchers are currently working on ways that type 1 diabetes could be controlled and prevent further irreversible damage to the cells in newly diagnosed people.2

The Search is Ongoing

Even though scientists are unsure how to prevent type 1 diabetes, some are looking at various ways that type 1 diabetes could be treated, including gene therapy and immunotherapy.

The search is very much ongoing. Type 1 diabetes can be detected with a simple blood test. When seen, these people can be invited to participate in clinical trials that are currently testing new treatments that could halt the early stages of the immune attacks on the beta-cells in the pancreas and prevent further damage.3 Although complete prevention has not yet been achieved, small successes in delaying the onset of type 1 diabetes have been seen. For example, in 2019, a group of scientists found that Teplizumab could, on average, slow the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes by three years. This shows that the course of type 1 diabetes can be altered. 


Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition once it develops. Much research has gone into understanding the mechanisms behind this medical condition. Although medical professionals are clear about how to treat type 1 diabetes, they are less sure about how to prevent it altogether. Unfortunately, for the moment, there are no known ways to prevent type 1 diabetes. Researchers believe that environmental and genetic factors, among others, could all play a role in preventing type 1 diabetes, but the results are still inconclusive. 


  1. DiMeglio LA, Evans-Molina C, Oram RA. Type 1 diabetes. Lancet. 2018;391(10138):2449-2462.
  2. Jacobsen LM, Haller MJ, Schatz DA. Understanding Pre-Type 1 Diabetes: The Key to Prevention. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2018;9:70. Published 2018 Mar 6. 
  3. Rewers M, Gottlieb P. Immunotherapy for the prevention and treatment of type 1 diabetes: human trials and a look into the future. Diabetes Care. 2009;32(10):1769-1782. 

Imogen Scott

Postgraduate Degree, Neuroscience, Goldsmiths, University of London

Imogen Scott, based in London, is deeply rooted in mental health and healthcare. Serving as an Account Executive at Silver Buck, she emphasizes digital health innovations. Previously, she showcased her commitment as a Medical Writer Intern at Klarity and supported students with special needs at Charlton Park Academy. With a Bachelor's in Psychology and an ongoing Neuroscience postgrad from Goldsmiths, Imogen is a blend of academic and professional passion in health.

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