What is Type 1 Diabetes?

In the diabetes online community we often refer to ourselves as superheroes. We even compare our daily lives and diabetes management to having a full-time job that we didn’t apply for, and there’s no pay or vacation provided.

Now let me just start off by saying that I didn’t create this blog to complain about diabetes. I have been living with T1D for 17 years, and I created this as a platform for myself to connect with other type 1 diabetics (T1D) to educate and empower others and to share my own personal story in the hope that it could potentially reach someone who was going through the same thing and shed some light on their situation and let them know that they are not alone.

Quite frankly, I consider having type 1 diabetes a blessing in disguise. It has led me to discover a healthier lifestyle and has been a contributing factor in making me into the person I am today. With that said, I am not this disease. Diabetes does not define me, and it certainly does not stop me from going after what I want.

I wanted to write this blog post for those of you who may be following my blog and may not quite have a full understanding of what type 1 diabetes exactly is. So if you want to know more, let’s get right into it here!

What is T1D?

Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is a chronic autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin – a hormone essential to turning food into energy. This happens because the body’s own immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. This leaves the pancreas with little or no ability to produce insulin.Without insulin, sugar stays in the blood and can cause serious damage to organ systems.

When we eat, our bodies break down complex carbohydrates into glucose, the fuel we need. The pancreas releases insulin that acts as a kind of key to unlock the cells, allowing glucose to enter and be absorbed. Without fuel, cells in the body cannot survive. In addition, excess glucose can make the bloodstream too acidic, resulting in diabetic ketoacidosis which can be fatal if not treated. People with T1D must inject or pump insulin into their bodies every day to carefully regulate blood sugar. (BeyondType1.org)

T1D Facts and Myths

  • It is an incurable auto-immune disease
  • It is NOT caused by obesity or eating too much sugar
  • Can affect children and adults at any age
  • Insulin is not a cure for T1D
  • It is not easy for people with T1D to manage their blood-sugar levels
  • Requires constant carbohydrate counting, blood-glucose testing and lifelong dependence on injected insulin.
  • Accounts for roughly 10% of the almost 400 million global cases of diabetes, and people with Type 1 are insulin-dependent for life
  • T1D’s CAN eat anything a person without T1D can eat; we are no different. There is just more work and thought involved in our food choices.
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