WHAT IS TYPE 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an incurable, auto-immune condition that occurs when the body’s own immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. This attack leaves the pancreas with little or no ability to produce insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. T1D accounts for roughly 10% of the almost 415 million global cases of diabetes, and people with Type 1 are insulin-dependent for life.
Living with T1D is a full-time balancing act requiring constant attention to avoid acute, life-threatening hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or the long-term damage done by hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Blood sugar levels must be monitored either with finger pricks or a continuous glucose monitor. Insulin doses must then be carefully calculated based upon activity and stress levels, food intake, illness and additional factors.During food consumption, our bodies break down complex carbohydrates into glucose, the fuel we need. The pancreas releases insulin that acts as a kind of key to unlock the cells, allowing glucose to enter and be absorbed. Without fuel, cells in the body cannot survive. In addition, excess glucose can make the bloodstream too acidic, resulting in diabetic ketoacidosis, which can be fatal if not treated. People with T1D must inject or pump insulin into their bodies every day to carefully regulate blood sugar. Without insulin, sugar stays in the blood and can cause serious damage to organ systems.
Awareness & education is life saving in the prevention of type 1. If you’re at risk for type 2, education can help prevent or delay the progression of the disease. Diabetes communities such as: Healtheo360, Beyond Type 1, Diabetes Alive, The Faces of Diabetes American Diabetes Association, JDRF, Diabetes Connection, and Diabetes Late Nite offer useful resources for prevention and management.