Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Our bodies require energy to function. To obtain this energy we eat food. After we eat our food the body breaks down that food to extract the nutrients and supply the energy our cells and organs need to function. The pancreas is one of the organs that helps in the break down process. The pancreas has two jobs: to produce pancreatic juice which allows the intestine to further digest food and to produce insulin which helps sugar pass into the cells. When someone has Type 1 Diabetes the pancreas does not produce insulin. When the body doesn’t produce insulin, sugar builds up in the blood and the cells do not get their energy.

People with Type 1 Diabetes are usually diagnosed in childhood. As a matter of fact, this disease used to be called Childhood Diabetes. Now it’s just called Type 1 Diabetes. People with Type 1 Diabetes are insulin dependent. Since their bodies do not produce insulin they have to provide that insulin. This comes in two forms: Fast acting insulin and long acting insulin. Insulin can be injected into the body through syringes or pens. Some people use a pump which is a tube that is inserted into the body just under the skin that is attached to a system that delivers insulin directly to the body.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes include: frequent urination, being thirsty, and being hungry, weight loss, and changes in behavior. Frequent urination occurs because the body is trying to get rid of the sugar, water gets pulled from the body and gets eliminated as well. With the body eliminating water while trying to eliminate sugar, the body now needs to replace water. The cells become “hungry” because they are not getting the nutrition and energy. When cells become “hungry” they begin using up their internal storage of energy. When these stores are used up weight loss occurs. When the body is hungry and when sleep is interrupted by being unable to get a good night’s sleep because of frequent urination, being a happy person is not as easy as when the body is healthy.


Most of this information came from Understanding Diabetes A Handbook for People Who Are Living With Diabetes by H. Peter Chase, MD and David M. Maahs, Md, PhD. This is the book we got from the hospital. It’s a part of The Pink Panther Series (www.pinkpanther.com).


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