What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Without insulin to manage the energy released from food, your blood glucose can rise to dangerous levels. Type 1 diabetes affects approximately 3 million Americans, or 5 percent of the overall diabetes population. Typically diagnosed in childhood or young adulthood, it is a chronic illness that can be managed for life with a healthy diet, exercise and insulin.
Risks for type 1 diabetes
Causes for developing type 1 diabetes are unknown. Genetics, family history, and environmental factors appear to play a role, but there is no known way to prevent it. For adults who have type 1 diabetes, the risk for passing it on to an unborn child depends on a few variables. If you are a man with type 1 diabetes, the odds of your child getting diabetes are 1 in 17. Your child's risk is doubled if you developed diabetes before age 11. If both you and your partner have type 1 diabetes, the risk is between 1 in 10 and 1 in 4. Researchers are discovering new ways to predict the odds of getting diabetes.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes
Any of following conditions may be symptoms of diabetes:
- Extreme, unquenchable, thirst
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination
Treatment and health management of type 1 diabetes
Diet, exercise, insulin and careful monitoring are the foundation of diabetes treatment and management. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to diabetes management. If you have diabetes, you can benefit from frequent blood glucose monitoring and living a life of moderation. Developments in the field of diabetes management are ongoing, and staying informed is important. Finding a good support system that includes an endocrinologist, certified diabetes educator, and a nutritionist is key to living well with diabetes. Support from friends, family and other people with diabetes can make a difference by empowering you or your loved one with diabetes on this lifelong journey.
American Diabetes Association, "Type 1"
JDRF, "Fact Sheets: Type 1 Diabetes Facts"
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, "National Diabetes Statistics, 2011"