Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School


Expected Duration

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease.

People with type 1 diabetes need regular checkups. They must carefully monitor their blood sugar levels every day. They must receive insulin treatment throughout life.

A small number of people can become exceptions to this rule. Some people with diabetes eventually require kidney transplants. A transplant of the pancreas, or of the insulin-producing cells from the pancreas (called "islets"), sometimes is performed at the same time. Since the new pancreas can make insulin, this can cure the diabetes.

On unusual occasions, when someone's type 1 diabetes is very hard to control with available treatments, pancreas or islet transplantation may be performed even when kidney transplantation is not necessary. However, this approach is still experimental, and is not generally recommended.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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