What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type one diabetes is an autoimmune condition. This means that one’s own immune system has attacked part of their body thinking it is foreign, bad, an infection, or something else that should not be there. Type one diabetes is NOT, I repeat – NOT caused by anything that anyone did. No, the person with diabetes did not eat too much sugar, or at least that did not cause them to develop diabetes. There are many misconceptions about diabetes and the causes of developing diabetes. Erase those all from your mind NOW!
The pancreas is an organ that makes insulin. It is the insulin producing cells in the pancreas that are attacked and rendered useless in type one diabetes. Now, what is insulin you ask? Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use the food you eat for energy. Think of it as a key that opens the cells to allow sugar in. If the sugar can’t get into those cells, it’s floating around in your body making you feel rotten. Without the sugar in those cells, the cells are hungry and confused and do not function as well as they should. Why does this matter? You are made of cells. Cells play a huge role in everything your body does, so in order for your cells to get the energy they need to function, you need – what? YOU NEED INSULIN! When your pancreas does not make that insulin anymore, you need to get it another way. The way people with diabetes get their insulin is by injection or infusion. We’ll discuss that all more later on, but for now – let’s review the key points to type 1 diabetes.
1) Nothing you or anyone else did caused this disease to develop. It is autoimmune and no one’s fault.
2) Type 1 diabetes is never going away. You do not grow out of it, despite the slight misnomer of “juvenile diabetes”.
3) The body of someone with type 1 diabetes has stopped producing a hormone called insulin that everyone else’s bodies makes, so therefore, they need to somehow replace that missing hormone.
4) A person with type 1 diabetes can do ANYTHING that someone without the condition can do – it just sometimes takes a bit more planning and effort.


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