What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes (T1D), previously called juvenile diabetes, develops when the pancreas no longer produces insulin—a necessary hormone to allow the blood sugar (glucose) to pass into cells so that the cells can use it as energy. According to JDRF (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), approximately 40,000 new cases of type 1 diabetes occur each year. Type 1 diabetes accounts for five to 10 percent of all diabetes cases in the United States. While T1D can happen at any age, JDRF states it’s most commonly diagnosed somewhere between infancy and late 30s, with the peak age of diagnosis in the US around age 14.
What’s it like to receive a type 1 diabetes diagnosis?
If you have a child who’s been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in his or her childhood, you’re not alone. Chicago mother Beth Bernstein recounts her first thoughts when she learned her 14-year-old daughter had recently developed this type 1 diabetes. “You have to be strong for your children,” Bernstein said. “What do we do? What’s our next steps? I was very linear in my thinking. To see my daughter in so much discomfort and pain…it was horrible.” For Bernstein’s daughter, type 1 diabetes symptoms came without warning. “We couldn’t have prevented this,” she said. “It literally came out of the blue. At first, I felt guilty this had happened to my child, but then I learned there’s nothing we did to cause this.” Knowing the signs of type 1 diabetes in children is critical to control the illness. A child exhibiting symptoms of type 1 diabetes may demonstrate the following: