What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system directs its attack on cells in the pancreas that make insulin. As it frequently and mostly occurred in children, it used to be called “Juvenile Diabetes”. We now have so many adults who develop this disease it has stopped being associated uniquely with children. Type 2 Diabetes is different. It is linked with lifestyle factors including poor eating, obesity and lack of exercise. Type 2 Diabetes tends to develop progressively whereas T1D usually presents rapidly although most people who are diagnosed with T1D recollect many weeks or months where they tended to feel unwell, had diminished energy, had lost weight and developed an increased thirst.
You cannot prevent T1D and there is still no cure.
Living with T1D is a daily challenge
People with T1D need to manage their blood glucose constantly. They have to do what their pancreas was doing in the background. They need to inject insulin with a syringe or use an insulin pump that constantly infuses insulin under the skin to control their blood sugar or glucose. They need to monitor their blood glucose level either by pricking their finger 4 to 6 times per day or with a continuous glucose monitor providing them with the information on a special device or to their pump directly. Even with constant attention, they still run the risk of high glucose, which can lead to complications and acute illness or dangerously low blood sugar that can lead to coma.
Every meal, snack or drink has to be dealt with insulin dosing. Every activity, exercise and sport needs careful monitoring. It is a non-relenting condition requiring complete attention at all times. It can be very exhausting to always being on guard and planning everything one does. While insulin is not a cure, the discovery of insulin has allowed diabetics to stay alive and fine tuning the person’s activity, food intake and insulin dosing allows people with T1D to lead very active lives. T1D is still associated with many long-term complications like amputations, Blindness, kidney and heart disease.