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Quick Facts About Type 1 Diabetes

In Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, the body's own immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The result is a severe lack of or absence of insulin - a hormone that is necessary for life.

  • Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age.
  • 30,000 people are diagnosed each year, over 13,000 of whom are children. That is 35 children each and every day.
  • A total of one million Americans are living with Type 1 diabetes.
  • Predisposition to Type 1 diabetes is genetic.

Living with Type 1 Diabetes

  • At his time, there is no cure. To survive, people with Type 1 diabetes must take multiple insulin injections daily and test their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times per day.
  • The multiple daily injections of insulin do not mimic the body's minute-to-minute production of insulin and precise control of glucose metabolism. Blood sugar are usually higher than normal, causing complications that include blindness, heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, nerve damage, and amputations. Even with insulin, life expectancy of people averages 15 years less than healthy people.
  • Controlling blood sugar is not simple. Despite rigorous attention to maintaining a healthy diet, exercise regimen, and always injecting the proper amount of insulin, many other factors can adversely affect a person's blood-sugar control including: stress, hormonal changes, periods of growth, illness or infection and fatigue. People with Type 1 diabetes must constantly be prepared for hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions which are life threatening.
  • Caring for type 1 diabetes is difficult and upsetting for the entire family. It is a life threatening disease which requires never-ending vigilance.

Warning Signs

  • Common symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include: excessive thirst, constant hunger, excessive urination; sudden weight loss for no reason; rapid, hard breathing; sudden vision changes or blurry vision, drowsiness or exhaustion; fruity odor on breath.
  • These symptoms may occur suddenly.



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