by Yasmine and Shivank

What is Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

-Autoimmune condition where the body attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells, meaning no insulin is produced. This causes glucose to quickly rise in the blood.

-Nobody knows exactly why this happens, but science tells us it’s got nothing to do with diet or lifestyle.

-About 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1.

Some fun facts about type 1 diabetes

Who T1D Affects

Type 1 diabetes strikes both children and adults at any age. It comes on suddenly, causes dependence on injected or pumped insulin for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications.

How T1D Is Managed

Living with T1D is a constant challenge. People with the disease must carefully balance insulin doses (either by injections multiple times a day or continuous infusion through a pump) with eating and other activities throughout the day and night. They must also measure their blood-glucose level by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day. Despite this constant attention, people with T1D still run the risk of dangerous high or low blood-glucose levels, both of which can be life threatening. People with T1D overcome these challenges on a daily basis.

Insulin Is Not a Cure

While insulin injections or infusion allow a person with T1D to stay alive, they do not cure the disease, nor do they necessarily prevent the possibility of the disease’s serious effects, which may include: kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, heart attack, stroke, and pregnancy complications.

The Outlook for Treatments and a Cure

Although T1D is a serious and difficult disease, treatment options are improving all the time, and people with T1D can lead full and active lives. JDRF is driving research to progressively remove the impact of the disease from people’s lives until we ultimately achieve a world without T1D.


  • 1.25M Americans are living with T1D including about 200,000 youth (less than 20 years old) and over a million adults (20 years old and older)1,2,5
  • 40,000 people are diagnosed each year in the U.S.1, 2
  • 5 million people in the U.S. are expected to have T1D by 2050, including nearly 600,000 youth.2,3
  • Between 2001 and 2009 there was a 21% increase in the prevalence of T1D in people under age 20.3
  • $14B T1D-associated annual healthcare costs in the U.S.
  • Less than one-third of people with T1D in the U.S. are achieving target blood glucose control levels6
  • T1D is associated with an estimated loss of life-expectancy of up to 13 years7

Warning Signs

Warning signs of T1D may occur suddenly and can include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Drowsiness or lethargy
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sugar in the urine
  • Fruity odor on the breath
  • Heavy or labored breathing
  • Stupor or unconsciousness

What is Diabetes Type 2

-In Type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough insulin, or the insulin it makes doesn’t work properly, meaning glucose builds up in the blood.

-Type 2 diabetes is caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Up to 58 per cent of Type 2 diabetes cases can be delayed or prevented through a healthy lifestyle.

-About 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2.

Some fun facts about Type 2 Diabetes

  1. It's the most common type of diabetes. More than 23 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and of those, 90 to 95 percent have type 2 diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
  2. If you’re 45 or older, you should get tested, says the American Diabetes Association (ADA). And people who are overweight and have another risk factor should be tested sooner. Risk factors include:
    • Having a parent or sibling with diabetes
    • Being of African-American, American-Indian, Asian, Hispanic, or of Pacific Islander descent
    • Being sedentary
    • Having high blood pressure
    • Having abnormal cholesterol levels (low HDL or high triglycerides)
    • Having a history of cardiovascular disease
    • Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  3. If you have diabetes, you should know your blood glucose numbers. One way to know if your treatment is working is to track your blood glucose levels. Target ranges are based on individual considerations. Your doctor will let you know where your numbers should be.
  4. Your diet doesn’t have to be restrictive. “A meal plan to better manage diabetes is simply a healthy eating pattern that all of us should be following,” Massey says. The ADA encourages a balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, non-fat dairy, healthy fats, and lean meats or meat substitutes.
  5. Losing weight will improve your health. Weight loss improves the body’s ability to process glucose and use insulin, according to the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). Research has found that overweight people who lose weight are able to delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, the NIDDK notes.
  6. Oral health is especially important if you have diabetes. Diabetes increases your risk for oral health problems like dry mouth, thrush, and periodontal gum disease. And gum disease can make it more difficult to control your blood glucose. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene — brushing and flossing every day — and see your doctor for regular checkups.
  7. Diabetes raises your risk of eye problems. As many as 40 to 45 percent of people with diabetes have some amount of diabetic retinopathy, an eye condition caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the National Eye Institute says. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. Other diabetes complications include cataracts and glaucoma.
  8. Heart health is another major concern. High blood glucose levels cause damage to nerves and blood vessels over time, the NIDDK says. Plaque buildup is another byproduct of high glucose levels. These factors increase your risk for heart disease and stroke — at least two times that of someone who doesn’t have diabetes. Heart attack and stroke are the leading causes of death among people with diabetes.
  9. Diabetes is a main cause of kidney failure. Even when diabetes is under control, there is a risk for chronic kidney failure, the NIDDK says. Of the 100,000 people diagnosed with kidney failure in the U.S. each year, nearly 44 percent of cases are caused by complications of diabetes.
  10. It takes a team approach. The risk of complications from type 2 diabetes is great, and for that reason, your diabetes care team needs to have the right experts to ensure nothing is missed. You should consider having a primary care physician, an endocrinologist, certified diabetes educators, a podiatrist, a dentist, and an ophthalmologist, Massey recommends.

How does it affect the individual and their food choices?

-Even when you feel fine if you eat too much sugar your blood levels increase and you could have some loose feelings and faint. It also causes blindness which can also lead to death.

Examples of foods they can eat?

  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, millet, or amaranth

  • Baked sweet potato

  • Items made with whole grains and no (or very little) added sugar

Our sources