What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Previously known as Juvenile Diabetes, T1D is an autoimmune disease in which a child's own immune system attacks and permanently destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. Children will be dependent on insulin injections or an insulin pump for the rest of their lives in order to survive. Roughly 5--8% of all diabetics are actually Type 1, but the number is increasing every year.
Early warning signs include:
Frequent urination, abnormally thirsty, fatigue, blurry vision, bedwetting (when not previously present), frequent urinary tract infections, yeast infections in prepubescent girls, and weight loss despite a normal or increased appetite.
Late signs requiring immediate attention:
Muscle cramping, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, fruity smelling breath, loss of consciousness. These are signs your child is in DKA which can lead to coma or even death.
Myths about Type 1 Diabetes:
1. Type 1 Diabetics cannot eat sugar or carbs- No foods are off limits for T1D's. Like everyone else, however, they should follow a healthy meal plan allowing for sweets in moderation. Carbohydrates should not be limited. The body and brain need carbs for energy!
2. Type 1 Diabetics can't play sports- T1D's can do anything a "normal" person can. The only difference is they may have to check their blood glucose or eat a carb snack for before the activity. Numerous world-class athletes and Olympians are T1D's.
3.You get Type 1 Diabetes from eating too much sugar- Unlike many with Type 2, T1D is not caused from unhealthy lifestyle choices. It is an autoimmune disease. It could be genetic or caused by some environmental trigger.
4 . Type 1 Diabetes is contagious- Nothing could be further from the truth. T1D cannot be passed from one person to another like the flu.
5. Type 1 Diabetics are overweight and skinny people can't be Diabetic- On the contrary, many T1D's are thin. When cells cannot get energy because sugar is "trapped" in the blood, the body burns fat to get the energy needed for the cells to work.