Type 1 Diabetes. Why are you so misunderstood?

Many people do not realize that Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is not the same as Type 2 or adult onset diabetes. T1D is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system attacks the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. The pancreas stops producing insulin which is a hormone that people use to get energy from food. Currently, there is nothing you can do to stop it and there is no cure.

From the blog post The Truth About Type 1 Diabetes

Now here's the thing. Type 1 diabetes is neither caused nor cured by diet and exercise. Although type 2 diabetics may be able to control their diabetes through a consistent diet and exercise plan, 

type 1 diabetics need to take insulin to stay alive. Without insulin a type 1 diabetic will die.

Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by a poor diet or bad parenting.My son was diagnosed after going into diabetic ketoacidosis  (D.K.A.) and falling into a coma. I had been out of the country and my husband thought he had the flu. We didn't know the signs and symptoms. I called our pediatrician less than 24 hours of being home and had an appointment to see her the next morning. We didn't make it to the next morning. He was being transported downtown to Sick Kids Hospital by ambulance after rushing him into the emergency department when we realized his limbs were cold and his breathing had changed. 

I didn't say anything when I read or overheard people saying things about bad parenting causing Type 1 when he was first diagnosed. I guess at first it's all very scary and emotional. There was a level of guilt that came with a diagnoses like this. 

At some point in the first month of our care at Sick Kids one of the nurses grabbed my arms and looked me in the eyes, hard. She said, "there's nothing you could have done differently, it's not your fault". I think they had seen that look before. 

It's been quite a few years since being diagnosed but everything is the same. My son, like so many others, still has type 1 diabetes. He still relies on multiple blood checks and insulin injections every day to stay alive. There is still no cure. 

World Diabetes Day is celebrated on November 14th to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who's - along with Charles Best, award winning ideas lead to the discovery of insulin in 1922. November is our month to raise awareness and get the word out about what diabetes is and means for those living with it. We have a fundraising page at JDRF to raise money for a cure, better treatment and education.