Type 1 diabetes is when your body does not produce insulin. Mona Khanna, MD, MPH discusses the concerns, signs and symptoms associated with type 1 diabetes.
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Question: Type 1 diabetes: What is it? Dr. Mona Khanna: Diabetes type 1 used to be called Juvenile onset diabetes and basically it is a situation where your body doesn't produce insulin. Why is insulin important? Insulin is a storage hormone. So, all the foot we eat that is converted to glucose is the fuel that our body needs to expand energy to do anything that we want to do. Insulin takes that glucose takes that sugar puts it in the cells. So, they can actually turn it out and use it, so that we can have the energy that we need. When our body doesn't have insulin, we are not able to do that. Our body isn't able to function, in fact, the blood sugar from all the food that we builds up in the blood stream and damages many of our organs. Question: How do you get it? Dr. Mona Khanna: When a patient develops diabetes type 1, there is no element of that that you can say is his or her fault. It's a genetic thing, it could be related to a virus, we don't know exactly why some people developed diabetes, but we do know that it's nobody's fault when you develop diabetes type 1. It is not related in other words to our lifestyle. It is just a situation where your body isn't for whatever reason producing enough insulin so that it can take that sugar that you ingest and use it, turn it out and convert it to fuel. So it is nobody's fault, it just happens to be the way that your body was made. Signs and Symptoms Dr. Mona Khanna: The signs and symptoms of diabetes type 1 are frequent thirst, frequent hunger, going to the bathroom a lot, urinating a lot, and losing weight without intending to and that is a very key element. It is unintentional weight loss and irritability, fatigue, no matter how much you eat, because you don't have that insulin your body can convert it to fuel and energy. So you are always tired and then you have these other signs and symptoms as well. Question: My child has been diagnosed, what do I do? Dr. Mona Khanna: Well the thing is not panic. It's a very scary diagnosis and in fact the word that is most often used by parents when their child is diagnosed with diabetes type 1 is that they are devastated. It's a devastating disease, they themselves are devastated and they do not know what to do about it. So, the first thing is not to be scarred enough to panic. Millions of people are living all over the world very successfully with diabetes and living very healthy lifestyles and are able to live productive lifestyles, have children and so forth and so on. So, first thing don't panic. Second thing, is it's very, very, very manageable, but it is going to be something that is going to take some extra work. It's going to be something that you and your child will always be conscious of you'll always be aware that portion size is key when it comes to eating, limiting fats is key, you might have to trade of some starches and carbohydrates for others. You cannot eat candy or drink a sugary substances indiscriminately like others can. So it is manageable but it is you have to be conscious and watch. And the other thing is your child will have to take his/her blood sugar in other words, you will have to prick his/her finger and take the blood sugar and measure it and that blood sugar is going to be very, very important to determine how much insulin that he/she needs and the other thing is to make sure that the blood sugar doesn't go too low. We have some great, great devices that we have insulin pumps that maintains steady state body sugar levels and they do it automatically, don't really have to worry about it as much as to stop to check your blood sugars but not as often. You don't have to inject yourself likely you used to in the past. So it's don't be scarred, don't panic, it's manageable you just have to be conscious in just about what you are doing in absolutely key to follow up with the doctor, because not only for the short term managing the blood sugar on a day today basis but also managing it so, you don't get the long te