Every 36 minutes a child in the United States is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas, an organ about the size of a hand that is located behind the lower part of the stomach. These cells -- called beta cells -- are contained, along with other types of cells, within small islands of endocrine cells called the pancreatic islets. Beta cells normally produce insulin, a hormone that helps the body move the glucose contained in food into cells throughout the body, which use it for energy. But when the beta cells are destroyed, no insulin can be produced, and the glucose stays in the blood instead, where it can cause serious damage to all the organ systems of the body.

For this reason, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin in order to stay alive. This means undergoing multiple injections daily, or having insulin delivered through an insulin pump, and testing their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day. People with diabetes must also carefully balance their food intake and their exercise to regulate their blood sugar levels, in an attempt to avoid hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions, which can be life threatening.

Frequently Asked Questions about Type 1 Diabetes

Will Caylin ever outgrow diabetes?

No, not unless a cure is found, which is why we’re raising money to help find a cure for type 1 and to help make the lives of children who have type 1 a bit easier.

What’s the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin. It requires multiple daily injections of insulin or infusion of insulin through a pump to survive. There is no cure for type 1.

Type 2 is a metabolic disorder in which a person’s body produces insulin, but is unable to use it effectively. It does not always require insulin injections and can often be controlled through diet and exercise.

What causes type 1 diabetes?

The causes are not entirely understood, but scientists believe both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved.

What are the warning signs of type 1 diabetes?

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Sudden weight loss for no reason
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Fatigue
  • Fruity odor on breath
If your child exhibits some of the above symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Too many children have died as the result of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. As is the case with most diseases, early detection is key.

Can adults get type 1 diabetes?

Yes, while the disease usually strikes in childhood, it can be diagnosed in adults, too.

What kinds of complications does diabetes cause?

Diabetes does damage. It is the leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness and non-traumatic amputations. In addition, it can cause strokes, heart attacks and nerve damage.
Life expectancy for people with diabetes is shortened by an average of 7-10 years.

What does a cure look like?

The possibilities include:
  • Creation of auto-immune drugs used to stop the destruction of insulin-producing cells
  • Replacement of insulin-producing cells by transplantation
  • Regeneration of insulin-producing cells with a drug
  • Prevention or immunology by taking a drug

Scientists have stated that type 1 diabetes will be the first chronic illness to be cured in our lifetime.