Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a very serious disorder that generally
occurs among children and young adults with a peak age at onset at
puberty. Males and females are equally affected. Type 1 diabetes
is caused by the autoimmune destruction of the beta cell of the
pancreas, which normally produces insulin. Therefore, individuals
with type 1 diabetes require daily insulin injections to survive.
Because of its severity, most cased are hospitalized at disease onset.
Although type 1 diabetes is relatively rare, incidence rates vary
dramatically across countries. The highest rates are in Finland and
Sardinia (greater than 20/100,000 per year) and the lowest are in
Asia (less than 3/100,000 per year). The incidence of type 1 diabetes
in the US is moderate (15-20/100,000 per year)