WHAT IS TYPE 1 DIABETES?
In type 1 diabetes, a person’s pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone necessary to sustain life. In a healthy person, glucose-a form of sugar produced when food is digested is burned as fuel to supply the body with energy. To turn food into energy, the body requires insulin, which allows glucose to move from the bloodstream into body cells to be used for energy. In people with type 1 diabetes, the body’s own immune system has attacked and destroyed its insulin producing beta cells (resulting in life-threateningly high levels of blood glucose), meaning insulin must be obtained from another source–injections or an insulin pump.
Although the causes are not entirely known, scientists believe the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It is not caused by obesity or by eating excessive sugar, which are two common myths about type 1. To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes must monitor their blood sugar frequently, inject insulin several times a day, and coordinate physical activities with their meal plan and insulin intake.
A new diagnosis of juvenile (type 1) diabetes can spark a range of reactions, including anger, sadness, and guilt. Whatever your feelings, they are normal, and you are not alone.
Life with diabetes poses challenges for every member of the family. Whether you have diabetes yourself, or are the parent or loved one of a person with diabetes, it takes time to adapt to the day-to-day demands of the disease. But treatment options are improving all the time, and diabetes will not prevent you or your child or loved one from living a full and active life. With medical and emotional support, children with diabetes and their families will learn to cope with the demands that the disease imposes. A child with diabetes, depending on age, will learn to take over much of his or her care. As time goes by, everyone will gain knowledge and confidence, and be able to celebrate successes, learn from mistakes, and move away from the intense feelings common after diagnosis.
- Check out some frequently asked questions on our national site
- Contact our Online Diabetes Support Team, a group of volunteers who provide one-to-one support, a sympathetic ear and practical suggestions for families affected by diabetes. If you need support or have questions about your children and school, the ODST has volunteers with specialized knowledge about diabetes and school issues; they will respond via e-mail within 48 hours. All correspondence is confidential.
- Read personal stories from JDRF families.
Juvenation is a social network created by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) especially for people with type 1 diabetes. JDRF recognizes the critical importance of ongoing peer-to-peer support for people with diabetes, so we’ve created various online programs to facilitate such support.
When you register with Juvenation, you can create a profile, participate in online discussion groups and forums, create and comment on blogs, upload videos, and more. Juvenation is the place to share your thoughts, concerns and tips about living with diabetes, educate yourself about new gadgets and technologies, and just have fun meeting others like you who are living with the disease.
Juvenation is open to anyone over the age of 13. If you are under 13 and looking to connect with kids your age with diabetes, check out JDRF’s Pen Pals site – you’ll love it! (But be sure to come back to Juvenation when you turn 13.)
If you have a specific question or request for a JDRF volunteer, please contact our Online Diabetes Support Team by filling out a request form. You should get a personal response by e-mail within 48 hours.
Juvenation is funded through an unrestricted educational grant from Novo Nordisk through its Changing Diabetes© leadership initiative. Read Novo Nordisk’s press release about its DAWN Youth program.
The Diabetes Exercise & Sports Association (DESA) exists to enhance the quality of life for people with diabetes through exercise and physical fitness. Do you need help with managing your diabetes and your sports? Click here.
From living independently, to relationships and starting a family, to work life, adults with type 1 diabetes face unique challenges. But there are millions of people who are living successfully with the disease. The articles in this section provide helpful, practical information and an inside look into how others are overcoming obstacles.
If you don't find what you're looking for here, you can also contact our Online Diabetes Support Team with questions. A volunteer will get back to you by e-mail within 48 hours.
Adults Living Successfully with Type 1 Diabetes
Links coming soon!