What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is required by the body to use glucose, the simple sugar that most foods are broken down into by our digestive system. Without insulin, the body starves to death. It's important to note that everyone is insulin-dependent. People without diabetes make insulin in their pancreas. People with Type 1 diabetes must inject insulin. According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 850,000 to 1.7 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes. Of those, about 125,000 are kids 19 and under. An additional 30,000 Americans develop Type 1 diabetes every year, 13,000 of whom are children. Type 2 diabetes is much more prevalent, with an estimated 16 million Americans having Type 2. Millions of people with type 2 diabetes have not yet been diagnosed. Diabetes Develops Gradually The process of developing diabetes is gradual. Studies performed by the Joslin Clinic1 have shown changes as much as nine years before the actual presentation of diabetes symptoms. The development of Type 1 diabetes can be broken down into five stages: Genetic predisposition Environmental trigger Act Continue reading >>