Diabetes Awareness Week 2019: Parenting With Type One

The 10th – 16th June is Diabetes Awareness Week 2019!

We’ve already kicked the week off with my own personal experience of beating type two diabetes into remission for the sake of my little boy – take a peep here – and throughout the week we’ll be sharing various posts covering the different types of diabetes, treatments, and how we cope as parents with diabetes. This is the second post of our awareness week, and we’ll be taking a look at type one diabetes.

What is type one diabetes?

What is the difference between type one and type two diabetes?

90% of people with diabetes are type 2, which can be caused by genetic predisposition, be induced by certain medications, be caused by lifestyle, or a combination of the three. It can come on at any stage in life, usually in adulthood as it takes time for the body to become insulin resistant, prediabetic, and then type two, meaning that if someone is at risk of becoming type 2, this can usually be identified and remedied. Some people with type 2 diabetes can go into remission (like me) with the right changes.

With type 1, it can’t be ‘caught’, nor can it be put into remission. It is more likely to start in childhood than type two. There is no link to diet or lifestyle, and scientists still don’t know what causes it although there is some speculation that there is a genetic factor. However, like type two, it can be well managed and people with both types can lead happy, fulfilling lives, and raise families just like any other mummy or daddy!

Another difference between type one diabetes and type two diabetes is treatment. With type one, you must replace your insulin as your body can no longer replace it. However, many type two diabetics can be treated with diet control alone, or alongside metformin, which lowers the amount of sugar produced by the liver and also increases muscle cell sensitivity to insulin. It’s not that type two diabetics don’t produce insulin – the body just becomes resistant to it.

What causes type one diabetes?

As we mentioned before, type one diabetes has got absolutely nothing to do with diet or lifestyle and experts are still not sure what causes it. When you have type one diabetes, the body attacks the cells in your pancreas that make insulin, meaning that you can’t produce any insulin at all.

We all need insulin to survive as it allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and keep our bodies going.

When you have type one diabetes, your body will still break down the carbohydrate from what you eat and drink, and turn it into glucose, but when the glucose enters the bloodstream, there will be no insulin to help it transfer into your body’s cells leading to glucose building up in the blood stream. This can cause long term damage to vital organs, and even lead to Diabetic Ketoacidosis, which is horrible!

What are the symptoms of type one diabetes?

Type one diabetes shares many symptoms with type two diabetes. The most commonly reported are;

  • Excessive thirst
  • Weeing a lot
  • Feeling exhausted for no apparent reason
  • Thrush
  • Weight loss (or gain) with no clear cause (usually loss with type one)
  • Thrush
  • Slow healing
  • Vision problems

Read more about diabetes symptoms here!

How is type one diabetes treated?

Type one diabetes is treated with insulin, and this can be delivered in two different ways;

  • Injections
  • Insulin pump, which is a small device attached to your body by a cannula. It will keep track of your blood glucose levels and automatically deliver a dose when needed, which my type one friends RAVE about! Read more about insulin pumps here.

Due to the nature of type one diabetes, insulin is an essential treatment – your body can no longer make it, so you need to replace it, which is different to type two diabetes (explained above).

I’m pregnant and a type one diabetic, what should I expect?

First of all, don’t panic. Most pregnant ladies with diabetes have a healthy baby! This video from Diabetes UK is a handy watch for mummies-to-be with type one diabetes;

The Diabetes UK checklist for preparing for a healthy pregnancy;

In our mummy community, we have lots of mummies who have type one diabetes.

Megan Ann Prince told me;

“I’ve been type 1 diabetic 11 years this year, I’ve had two pregnancies and they have both been very very different but both ended in near enough the same way (both c sections). I’ve had 4 admissions of DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) between December 2015-july 2016 and nothing since…

My advice would be to just try and keep your sugars very controlled throughout pregnancy as high sugars can cause problems with baby and you evidently!”

Our guest blogger Meghan Brook from Me, Amelia and Diabetes is also a type one diabetic, and she writes about her experience as a diabetic mummy regularly. You can read more from her here.

We hope that this has helped to inform & reassure! What tips would you share with fellow pregnant type one diabetics? Let us know in the comments!

Love from Katie. Xx