Absolute Insulin Deficiency occurs in individuals with Type 1 Diabetes when the body is unable to produce any amount of insulin because of autoimmune damage to the pancreatic beta cells or the complete removal of the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, the hormone that manages the blood glucose levels in the body.

With absolute insulin deficiency, there is no insulin present in the blood to regulate blood glucose levels. This means that an external source of insulin will be necessary to perform the important tasks that the insulin performs in the body:

  • Control blood sugar levels after food intake
  • Manage energy levels for the body’s daily functions
  • Accommodate the storage and distribution of glucose into the body’s cells

Type 1 Diabetes is characterized by absolute insulin deficiency. It is also called insulin-dependent diabetes since the body becomes dependent on external insulin to function. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when antibodies attack the pancreatic beta-cells disabling the organ and completely shutting down its ability to produce any insulin.

Absolute insulin deficiency is different from relative insulin deficiency— the latter occurs when the body develops insulin resistance and is unable to produce enough insulin to manage the blood glucose present in the body. Absolute insulin deficiency involves a lifetime management and dependency on an external source of insulin. Relative insulin deficiency, which occurs in individuals with Type 2 Diabetes, is aided by proper diet, exercise, and medications to restore or improve the pancreas’ functions.

Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.