What is Type 1 Diabetes?

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What is Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)?

Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common and serious long-term diseases in children. It is a disease where the body's immune system attacks the cells that make insulin. Insulin helps sugar (glucose) get into your cells so it can be used as energy. Children with type 1 diabetes must take insulin several times a day to stay alive and healthy. Right now, there is no cure for type 1 diabetes.

  • T1D is a serious disease affecting 1 out of every 300 (1/300) children in the United States.
  • T1D occurs when special cells in the pancreas, called beta cells, are destroyed by the body's own immune system. When the beta cells are destroyed, the body can no longer make insulin.
  • Insulin is needed to keep blood sugar levels normal. If there is no insulin, your body can't use the sugars from the food you eat, causing serious illness or even death.
  • A child with T1D must take insulin shots or use an insulin pump every day to stay well. Insulin has to be taken every day for the rest of the life of a child with diabetes.

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