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, and lasts a lifetime. T1D has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it.
Just to survive, people with T1D must frequently test their blood sugar and inject insulin (or continually infuse it through a pump) every day. They must carefully balance insulin doses with eating and other daily activities—and still run the risk of dangerous high or low blood sugar levels. Taking insulin does not cure T1D, nor does it prevent the possibility of the disease’s devastating effects: kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, heart attack, stroke, and pregnancy complications.
What are the symptoms of type 1 diabetes?
The symptoms may occur suddenly, and include one or more of the following:
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Drowsiness, lethargy
- Sugar in urine
- Sudden vision changes
- Increased appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
- Heavy, labored breathing
- Stupor, unconsciousness
If you think you or your child has diabetes, call a doctor immediately, and drink fluids WITHOUT SUGAR, if able to swallow, to prevent dehydration.