View our animation of how foods containing carbohydrate are normally digested by your body into glucose. See the part that insulin plays in helping glucose to enter your fat and muscle cells for energy production or storage.
Then scroll down to see what happens in people with type 1 diabetes.
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In people with type 1 diabetes the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin — the beta cells — have been destroyed.
This means that the pancreas can't produce insulin, so there's no insulin to unlock the glucose channels in the body's fat and muscle cells.
With the glucose channels locked, no glucose can enter the fat and muscle cells where it is needed for fuel to make energy, or for storage for later energy requirements.
Glucose then builds up in the bloodstream leading to what's known as a ‘high blood sugar’ or ‘high blood glucose’ level.
People with type 1 diabetes have to inject insulin several times every day to allow glucose to enter the cells. This should bring their blood glucose levels within a healthy range.
Last Reviewed: 21 April 2010