What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone people need to get energy from food. T1D strikes both children and adults at any age and suddenly. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. Though T1D’s causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers play a role. There is currently nothing you can do to prevent it, and there is no cure.
Life with T1D
Living with T1D is a constant balancing act. People with T1D must regularly monitor their blood-sugar level, inject or continually infuse insulin through a pump, and carefully balance their insulin doses with eating and daily activities throughout the day and night. Take advantage of JDRF T1D resources and support.
Insulin is not a cure
While people with T1D rely on insulin therapy to control their blood sugar, insulin is not a cure nor does it prevent the possibility of the disease’s serious side effects. Even with intensive disease management, a significant portion of their day is still spent with high or low blood-sugar levels, placing people with T1D at risk for devastating complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and amputation.
Turning Type One into Type None
T1D is a serious and stressful disease to manage. Treatment options are improving all the time, and people with T1D are able to lead normal, productive and inspiring lives. JDRF is driving research to improve the technology people with T1D use to monitor blood-sugar levels and deliver the proper doses of insulin, as well as research that will ultimately deliver a cure.
Type 1 Diabetes Warning Signs
Recognizing the warning signs for T1D may save a life. Symptoms may occur suddenly and can include:
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Drowsiness or lethargy
- Increased appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Sudden vision changes
- Sugar in the urine
- Fruity, sweet or wine-like odor on breath
- Heavy or labored breathing
- Stupor or unconsciousness
If you or someone you love exhibits one or more of these symptoms, call a doctor immediately.