What is Type 1 Diabetes:  It is an autoimmune disease in which a person's own body (white blood cells) attack the insulin producing cells (beta cells) in the Pancreas.  Due to the subsequent lack of insulin, the cells are unable to use sugars for fuel.  Therefore the body begins to starve and will subsequently breakdown fats and proteins for fuel.  The by-product of this breakdown is called "ketones".  Ketones can make one very ill and can cause death if not dealt with.

Signs and Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes: 
  • increased urination
  • increased thirst
  • increased hunger
  • blurred vision
  • weight loss
  • behavior changes
Causes of Type 1 Diabetes:  To develop Type 1 Diabetes three risk factors must be present.  They are inheritance (genetic), autoimmunity (self-allergy), and environmental damage (example:  from a chemical or virus).  So, in other words, a person must have the genetic "set-up" to be susceptible to the environmental stimulus (chemical or virus) in order for the autoimmune "attack" (self-allergy) on the beta cells of the pancreas to occur.

Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes:  Insulin must be given in order for a person with Type 1 Diabetes to survive.  Insulin is usually given by multiple injections daily OR via an Insulin Pump.  Diet (specifically carbohydrate intake), Insulin, and Activity must be BALANCED hour to hour to avoid immediate dangers from treatment with insulin.

Immediate Dangers Include:
  • LOW BLOOD SUGAR - This can happen at any time to a person taking insulin.  It can be due to low carbohydrate intake, too much insulin, activity, illness, and a hot or cold environment.  It is an immediate health concern.  If it is not treated with sugar the person can go unconscious, have a seizure, and/or die.
  • HIGH BLOOD SUGAR - This can occur at times of stress, too many carbohydrates, too little insulin, during growth, during periods of illness, at times of inactivity etc.  High blood sugars can also become an emergency if they occur for several hours and ketones start to develop.
Long Term Complications  of Type 1 Diabetes:  Long term complications can include heart disease, kidney disease, eye disease, vascular disease, connective tissue disease, and neuropathic disorders.  High glucose levels in the blood affect EVERY organ of the body.

  • My son nor my family did nothing to cause this disease (see causes above).
  • Joe can eat most foods within reason as long as I calculate the insulin dose according to the carbohydrate count of the food he is going to consume.
  • Joe can have sugar sometimes - for lows and for a "treat" (as long as I give him insulin to cover the grams of carbohydrate consumed)
  • Diet and exercise is NOT the treatment plan for a person with Type 1 Diabetes.  Insulin is the treatment.  A healthy diet and exercise is good for ALL of us.
  • Joe is a happy, healthy, active boy. 
  • Please ask questions