Without insulin injections or an insulin pump, people with type 1 are in serious trouble. And in fact, if they accidentally get too much insulin, that’s ALSO life-threatening. So for people with type 1 diabetes it’s a fact of life to spend time every day checking blood sugar and managing insulin. Actually, it IS life.
Only about 5–10% of people with diabetes in the US have type 1, and it’s a totally different disease from type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that essentially destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, a hormone that shuttles blood sugar (which rises after you eat) into cells to be used as energy.
Don’t take your pancreas for granted. When it’s working, the pancreas does this job naturally for you every day, keeping blood sugar — which, BTW, is a hideous poison at high levels — in the safe range.
Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, but it often occurs in childhood. So if you see a teen or young adult using insulin, they probably have type 1. (Although type 2, which used to happen almost exclusively in people over 45, now occurs more often in children and teens, and some people can have a combo of both types. So don’t assume.)