WHAT IS TYPE 1 DIABETES?
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system damages the pancreas so that it can’t make enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps blood sugar (glucose) get into the cells of the body to be used as fuel. When glucose can’t enter the cells, it builds up in the blood, causing high blood sugar. High blood sugar can cause problems with blood vessels, nerves, eyes, kidneys, the heart and other areas of the body.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Type 1 diabetes often appears suddenly. In children, type 1 diabetes symptoms may be similar to the flu. Symptoms can include unusual thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger yet with weight loss, loss of appetite, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting. Diagnosis is usually done with a blood test.
Children with type 1 diabetes must have multiple daily injections of insulin to keep the blood glucose level within normal ranges. Insulin is given either by injection or insulin pump. Treatment also includes eating the right foods at the right time to manage blood sugar, and regular blood testing to check glucose levels.
“Type 1 diabetes is a long-term, chronic condition, with potential, though rare, fatal consequences if not managed regularly,” CHOC Children’s endocrinologist Dr. Mark Daniels says. “An endocrinologist can help a child and his or her family come to terms with the disease and find ways to fit it into their lives.”
TYPE 1 VS. TYPE 2
Only 5 percent of all people with diabetes have type 1. The remainder have another kind called type 2 diabetes, which is much more common in adults. While type 1 diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin, type 2 diabetes occurs when the body isn’t able to use insulin properly, even when it is present. Type 1 diabetes cannot yet be prevented, but in many cases type 2 diabetes may be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes is most often diagnosed in adults, though a rising number of children are being diagnosed with the disease.