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

Type 1

An autoimmune disease

Caused by genetic predisposition and a so-far unidentified environmental trigger

Insulin deficiency

Type 2

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

Insulin resistance


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.