November is National Diabetes Awareness Month
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, debilitating autoimmune disease that strikes both children and
adults, and is most often diagnosed before the age of 30. A person with type 1 diabetes
cannot produce the insulin needed to get energy from food and thus requires injecting insulin
several times every day.
Nearly 3 million people in the United States have type 1 diabetes. Each year, approximately
30,000 Americans are diagnosed with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes; over 15,000 are children.
As with many diseases, early diagnosis goes a long way toward preventing serious health
problems, and even death.
Knowing the warning signs of type 1 diabetes could save a child’s life. These may occur
Extreme Thirst, Increased appetite
Frequent urination, Sudden weight loss
Sudden vision changes, Drowsiness, lethargy
Sugar in urine, Heavy, labored breathing
Fruity, sweet or wine-like, Stupor, unconsciousness
Odor on breath
If your child exhibits one or more of these symptoms, call a doctor immediately.
Education about the symptoms of type 1 diabetes is critical because type 1 can easily be
mistaken for more common illnesses, such as the flu.
There are two common myths about diabetes: 1) Having type 1 or juvenile diabetes is a
mere inconvenience easily managed with insulin and; 2) Type 1 diabetes is preventable or
correctable like type 2 diabetes.
Key Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
An autoimmune disease
Caused by genetic predisposition and a so-far unidentified environmental trigger
Related to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle
People often have a genetic predisposition to type 2, but those genes are likely not the
same as those which predispose a person to type 1
Diabetes costs our nation over $174 billion per year and is the sixth leading cause of death in
the United States. Diabetes is a leading cause of adult blindness, kidney failure, non-traumatic amputations,
nerve damage, stroke and heart attacks, and reduces life by some 10 years.
JDRF is the world’s largest charitable funder of type 1 diabetes research. The mission of JDRF
is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.
Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with juvenile diabetes, JDRF has awarded
more than $1.3 billion to diabetes research worldwide.