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This topic covers type 1 diabetes in children. For information about type 1 diabetes in adults and about preventing complications from type 1 diabetes, see the topic Type 1 Diabetes.
What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes develops when the
. Your body needs insulin to let sugar
(glucose) move from the blood into the body's cells, where it can be used for
energy or stored for later use.
Without insulin, the sugar cannot
get into the cells to do its work. It stays in the blood instead. This can
cause high blood sugar levels. A person has diabetes when the blood sugar is
What will it be like for your child to live with type 1 diabetes?
Your child can live a long, healthy life by learning
to manage his or her diabetes. It will become a big part of your and your
You play a major role in helping your child take
charge of his or her diabetes care. Let your child do as much of the care as
possible. At the same time, give your child the support and guidance he or she
How can you manage diabetes?
The key to managing
diabetes is to keep blood sugar levels in a target range. To do
this, your child needs to take insulin, eat about the same amount of
at each meal, and exercise. Part of your
child's daily routine also includes checking his or her blood sugar levels at
certain times, as advised by your doctor.
The longer a person has
diabetes, the more likely he or she is to have problems, such as diseases of
the eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys. For some reason, children
seem protected from these problems during childhood. But if your child can
control his or her blood sugar levels every day, it may help prevent problems
What symptoms should you watch for?
Even when you
are careful and do all the right things, your child can have problems with low
or high blood sugar. Teach your child to look for signs of low and high blood
sugar and to know what to do if this happens.
- If your child has low blood sugar, he or
she may sweat a lot and feel weak, shaky, or hungry. But your child's symptoms
may be different. Low blood sugar happens quickly. A person can get low blood
sugar within minutes after exercise or after taking insulin without eating
- If your child has high blood sugar, he
or she may be very thirsty or hungry, have to urinate more often than usual, or
have blurry vision. High blood sugar usually develops slowly over hours or