What is T1D
DID YOU KNOW?
There are two very different types of diabetes that should not be confused with each other. Most general media references to “diabetes” relates to Type 2 diabetes. However, there is a “Type 1” diabetes (T1D) which is dramatically different and far less understood. Currently, there is no cure for T1D. T1D is not a disease which can be prevented. It is not the result of a poor diet or obesity.
T1D is an autoimmune disease (it is not contagious) and usually strikes in childhood. T1D occurs when the body’s immune system destroys the cells on the pancreas which produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone and is essentially the key that allows the glucose (sugar/energy) from your blood into your cells. Since people with T1D can’t produce their own insulin, they must put insulin into the blood stream 24 hours a day through injections or an insulin pump. Without insulin your body can not use the food you eat to support life functions. To properly determine how much insulin a person with T1D needs during the day they test their blood every two hours around the clock.
If you have T1D, your day involves calculating the exact amount of carbohydrates in everything you eat and matching a precise amount of insulin to process it. There are many different factors involved when determining the amount of insulin needed. Adrenaline, growth hormones, stress on the body, exercise and even the weather can all affect blood sugar levels and the amount of insulin required. High and low blood sugar levels significantly affect how a person feels during the day. Too much insulin can result in low blood sugar levels leading to seizures, coma or death. Too little insulin can lead to vision loss, kidney failure and heart disease.
It is a misconception that you can grow out of T1D or that it can be controlled by diet and exercise like Type 2 diabetes. While T1D is sometimes genetic, in most cases the cause is unknown. Unfortunately there is no cure for T1D - YET! With a national enlightenment will we be able to raise awareness and help educate people to the realities of T1D. There have been many amazing advances in care over the last few years and we are grateful for anything that will help improve the quality of life for those living with T1D.
Thank you for helping us light the way to a cure!