If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make insulin or makes very little insulin. Insulin helps blood sugar enter the cells in your body for use as energy. Without insulin, blood sugar can’t get into cells and builds up in the bloodstream. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and causes many of the symptoms and complications of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes was once called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes. It usually develops in children, teens, and young adults, but it can happen at any age.
Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2—about 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes, but it can be treated successfully by:
Following your doctor’s recommendations for living a healthy lifestyle.
Managing your blood sugar.
Getting regular health checkups.
Getting diabetes self-management education and support.
If your child has type 1 diabetes—especially a young child—you’ll handle diabetes care on a day-to-day basis. Daily care will include serving healthy foods, giving insulin injections, and watching for and treating hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). You’ll also need to stay in close contact with your child’s health care team. They will help you understand the treatment plan and how to help your child stay healthy.
Much of the information that follows applies to children as well as adults. You can also visit JDRF’s T1D Resourcesexternal icon for more information on managing your child’s type 1 diabetes.