T-1 Diabetes Fact Sheet

Please share the accompanying Type 1 factsheet with everyone who inquires about the T-1 luminaries.  The factsheet gives everyone an opportunity to explain the misconceptions, articulate the need for a cure and how to support people with Type 1 Diabetes.  If people don’t know there is a Type 1 that needs a cure then how can we expect to get one?  The factsheet (text below) is part of the T1 Luminary Event Kit download.

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What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes is when your body no longer produces insulin because the immune system kills the cells in the body that produce insulin.  Insulin is essentially the key that allows the glucose (sugar/energy) from your blood into your cells.  Since people with type 1 diabetes 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 blood sugar will become very high resulting in seizures, coma or death.  To properly determine how much insulin a child with type 1 diabetes needs, they test their blood every two hours, around the clock.

A child’s body is constantly growing and changing, therefore the amount of insulin a child requires can vary from day to day.  There are many different factors involved to determine the amount of insulin needed and too much insulin in the body will result in low blood sugar levels resulting in seizures, coma or death.  Unfortunately, determining the amount of insulin is not a science, but rather an art.  Adrenaline, growth hormones and stress on the body can all affect blood sugar levels and the amount of insulin required.  Someone with type 1 diabetes must calculate the amount of insulin for everything they eat.  You will often see moms inconspicuously counting every goldfish cracker their child eats at a birthday party or trying to guess the carbohydrate/sugar content in an orange at a soccer game.

Normally, insulin in the body starts working the second a person looks at food.  However, for someone with type 1 diabetes the insulin that is injected can take two to three hours to metabolize in the body, resulting in very unstable blood sugars throughout the day.  High and low blood sugars affect how a person feels resulting in blurred vision, headaches, nausea, confusion, irritability and exhaustion.

Parents of children with type 1 diabetes are up all night testing blood sugar levels — giving apple juice to prevent low blood sugars and administering insulin to prevent high blood sugars.  There is no vacation from diabetes.  Every 2 hours of every day—every meal, every sports activity, every play date, when they are healthy, when they have a cold, and even when they are sleeping—parents are making decisions to maintain tight control of the diabetes in their little ones.

There Are Two Very Different Types of Diabetes.

It is a misconception that you can grow out of type 1 diabetes or that it can be controlled by diet and exercise like type 2 diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease — it is not a result of obesity or a poor diet.  While diabetes is sometimes genetic in most cases the cause is unknown.

Enlightenment Can Lead to a Cure

Unfortunately there is no cure for type 1 diabetes YET!   Only with a national enlightenment will we be able to develop a cure for type 1 diabetes and other chronic diseases that affect children.  There have been many amazing advances in care over the last five years and we are grateful for anything that will help the quality of the day to day life for our children.  However, our children deserve more… they deserve a cure!  Thank you for helping us light that way to a cure.