Type 1 Diabetes - Understand the Basics

This type of Diabetes was most widely known as juvenile diabetes as is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Unlike other forms of diabetes, such as Type 2 diabetes where the body does not produce enough insulin, Type 1 diabetes is a result of the body producing no insulin. As a result the daily impacts and potential complications from this type of diabetes are much more serious and those diagnosed with this form of diabetes need to be vigilant in their monitoring and management.

First Some Type 1 Diabetes Statics....

Before we get into the weeds on the specifics regarding this type of diabetes let's revel some statics on the frequency of Type 1 versus other forms of diabetes. If you are concerned that your child is a candidate for this form of diabetes then these stats will help you rationalize the basis for your determination. 

One word of caution, it is always best to seek the advice of your physician as only they can confirm Type 1 diabetes. In addition, your physician can guide you through management of the diabetes if necessary.

Data compiled from the National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2011 (Dated 1/26/11)

Total Population Impacted: 25.8 million children and adults in the United States. That is 8.3% of the population that is considered to have some form of diabetes. Although it is estimated that only 5% of the people have Type 1 Diabetes. Some more alarming facts are:

    8 million people of the total number affected are diagnosed
    0 million people go undiagnosed
    As many as 79 million people are prediabetic (we spoke about this topic in Installment No. 1)

Broken down by age group:

    age 65 - 10.9 million, or 26.9% of all people in this age group have diabetes
    Between ages 20 and 65 - 25.6 million, or 11.3% of all people in this age group have diabetes
    Under 20 - 215,000, or 0.26% of all people in this age group have diabetes. However about 1 in 400 children develop Type 1 diabetes.

Broken down by gender:

    0 million, or 11.8% of all men aged 20 years or older have diabetes
    6 million, or 10.8% of all women aged 20 years or older have diabetes

Type 1 Health Concerns

As with any type of diabetes we need to know the potential health issues. It is important to remember that if you have or are concerned of developing Type 1 diabetes, it does not necessarily mean that you will have the complications that are mentioned here. Proper management is the key here. Only through guidance from your medical professional can you properly manage any diabetes condition.

Complications from Type 1 diabetes can include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system disease (neuropathy) and in some cases amputation. In fact diabetes in general was considered an underlying cause or contributing factor in more than 231,000 deaths in 2007. Here are some specifics of the health concerns noted"

Heart disease and stroke

    The risk of death for adults from heart disease is about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes.
    The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.


    Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20-74 years.

Kidney disease

    Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of new cases in 2008.
    In 2008, 48,374 people with diabetes began treatment for end-stage kidney disease in the United States.
    In 2008, a total of 202,290 people with end-stage kidney disease due to diabetes were living on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant in the United States.

Nervous system disease (Neuropathy)

    About 60% to 70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage.
    More than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.

Now while this may cause you to pause, remember these are typical health issues with diabetes in general. So you may be asking what to do if your child has Type 1 diabetes? What can I do in raising my child to limit their potential for these health impacts. Well there are many resources on the Internet that deal specifically with this topic. One such reference is noted at the end of this article for your consideration.

Living with Type 1 Diabetes

You are told you have Type 1 diabetes. You feel it is the worst day of your life. I will be is not. Will it mean that you can go on with your life as you did before the diagnoses? No. But it does not mean your life as you know it has to stop either. It just means that you have to modify what and how you manage your daily life. If you can get into that mindset then there will be very little that you can't do. In fact here are some examples of people who did not let their Type 1 diabetes hold them back.

    Nat Strand, diagnosed at age 12,competed in the Amazing Race on CBS and won.
    Crystal Bowersox competed on American Idol
    Charlie Kimball became a NASCAR driver and competes in the Indy 500
    Nick Joans became a well known pop star

Go for the brass ring!!!

Glucose Monitoring & Insulin

Sorry, forgot to mention how best to manage Type 1 diabetes. It is basically involves a few elements: blood glucose control, insulin management, exercise, nutrition and support.

First is glucose control. Since your body is no longer producing insulin you will need to learn both how much daily insulin is required and how it should be administered. The monitoring is pretty straight forward. You will need to take blood samples and do a blood glucose level test several times a day. Once you have determined your glucose level you can administer the necessary insulin by either injection pens, syringes or an insulin pump. As we have stated previously it is important to work with your health professional to determine which insulin regimen is best for you. There are many suppliers out there that can provide supplies right to your door so utilize these services to help take that activity off your plate.


Exercise provides some of the best benefits as it is one of the key components of proper diabetes care. Beside all of the benefits we normally associate with exercise, your blood will maintain more stable glucose levels. Now this does not mean that you have to run a marathon. Let's face it, most of us could not run a marathon if we wanted...I know I can't. All you need to do is stay active doing the things you may already be doing. However if you need some ideas try some of these suggestions:

    Go for a walk with your wife or husband, discuss how your day went. Not only will you both get exercise, you can de-stress by getting work issues off your chest.
    How about going to the gym? If you already do this as part of your health routine then great, you are ahead of the game. Strength is not only great for diabetes but can counteract many issues we face as we get older.
    Here is one for the parents/grandparents.... play with the kids. See, who says this can't be fun. Those with kids/grandchildren know how tiring playing with the kids can be. Now if that is not exercise I do not know what is.
    Take the stairs instead of the elevator
    Go dancing. Make a night out.
    Walk around the house while on the phone. I know I catch myself doing this sometimes.
    Walk every aisle when you go to the store.

There are endless possibilities.


As nutrition relates directly to your glucose level, it is a very important part of managing your diabetes. It is important to develop a meal plan that properly deals with managing blood glucose levels. We have mentioned in the past several resources for both managing weight and glucose levels.


One aspect often forgotten is support. Support plays an important role in diabetes care. Being able to connect with other people who understand the daily issues that must be faced, both emotional and physical can make all the difference. There are many organization available in every community that can provide the support you need. If you can 't find any support groups nearby than try the internet. In fact the internet can provide support on a 24/7 basis that a live group can not.

All the Best.....

Article Source: Michael Larocque

1 comment:

  1. Hi

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