Type 1 diabetes is all about insulin—a lack of the hormone insulin. If you have type 1 diabetes, then your body doesn’t produce enough insulin to handle the glucose in your body. Glucose is a sugar that your body uses for instant energy, but in order for your body to use it properly, you have to have insulin.
Having too much glucose in your body can cause serious complications. In order to avoid those, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to help their bodies use glucose effectively. Learn more about the hormone insulin and how it works.
Type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes because so many cases were noticed when patients were children. Children and young people account for many of the type 1 diabetes diagnoses today, which is why we created a Patients' Guide to Managing Your Child's Type 1 Diabetes
However, it is possible to develop type 1 diabetes later in life. Jay Cutler, quarterback for the Chicago Bears, is just one example of someone who began his journey with type 1 diabetes as an adult. To learn more, read our article about Jay Cutler's experience with type 1 diabetes.
Here’s another reason “juvenile diabetes” isn’t exactly accurate anymore: type 1 diabetes isn’t the only type of diabetes that can affect children and young adults. Type 2 diabetes is becoming more prevalent in younger people, and the treatments and causes of type 1 and type 2 are very different. It can be misleading and confusing to talk about “juvenile diabetes” when there are two distinct types that can affect children and young adults.
Hearing that your child has type 1 diabetes—or that you have it—can be an overwhelming thing to take in. You’re suddenly in a new world with a new vocabulary and new requirements: hemoglobin A1c, blood glucose, insulin pumps, carb counting, diabetic ketoacidosis, etc.
You can handle this new world of type 1 diabetes, though. Learn all you can about how best to manage day-to-day life and be proactive in taking care of your health (or your child’s health). This article series can help you navigate type 1 diabetes—from understanding what caused it to why exercise helps control your blood glucose level.