Type 1 diabetes affects children and adults suddenly and without warning, leaving them dependent on an intensive daily regime of insulin injections or infusions and blood tests, just to stay alive.
Yet type 1 diabetes is a hidden condition, and few know the devastating impact that it can have on a child or adult diagnosed with it, and their family. Tonight, you will get a small insight into living with type 1, and what the cure will mean to 29,000 children in the UK and the people who love them.
Causes of Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes occurs because your body is unable to produce insulin. Insulin usually moves glucose out of your blood and into your cells, where it is converted to energy. However, in type 1 diabetes, there is no insulin to move glucose out of your bloodstream and into your cells.
Without insulin, the body breaks down its own fat and muscle (leading to weight loss). In type 1 diabetes this can lead to a serious short- term condition where the bloodstream becomes acidic along with dangerous dehydration (diabetic ketoacidosis). Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, where your immune system (the body’s natural defence against infection and illness) mistakes the cells in your pancreas as harmful and attacks them.
“Nothing a child with type 1, or their parents, could have done would have prevented type 1 developing, and it will stay with them for life.”
Type 2 is more common and is a condition where the insulin produced by the body becomes less and less effective as time goes on – it can be worsened or improved through food and exercise choices. It is non-insulin dependent.
As anyone with an association with Type 1 knows, it is an illness that is with you 24 hours of every day, and as a parent of a small child, this can take its toll on even the strongest of us.
What are the Warning Signs:
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent need to urinate
- Weight loss
- Dramatic mood swings