1. Type 1 diabetes develops when a patient’s immune system mysteriously destroys pancreatic cells that make the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar and helps cells use the sugar glucose for energy.
2. Type 1 Diabetes is the second most common chronic illness in children, behind asthma.
3. Cases of Type 1 diabetes are increasing worldwide, particularly in young children.
4. Warning signs can include extreme thirst, frequent urination, a fruity breath odor and blurred vision. Generalized symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, stomachache, appetite changes and weight loss can also be indicators of Type 1 diabetes.
6. Left untreated, kids are at risk for a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA develops when glucose-starved cells trigger a process that makes blood more acidic.
7. Type 1 Diabetes almost always appears before age 40. Half of patients are diagnosed by 18.
8. By 2050 in the United States, cases in children and teenagers are predicted to more than triple, with the average age of diagnosis apparently increasing.
9. In Philadelphia, Pa, the incidence of Type 1 diabetes in children younger than 5 has more than double since 1985.
10. The mortality rate is highest in babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, due to delayed diagnoses and greater vulnerability to dehydration.