Type 1 Diabetes

There’s no need for your condition to hold you back

Every year around 2,000 children are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and a quarter of these are diagnosed in hospital. The average age of diagnosis is between 10 and 14 years. As a parent, it can help to know that there’s nothing you could have done to prevent the condition. But there’s so much you can do to help your child stay positive and take control of their life and health.

Understanding Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is caused when your body doesn't produce insulin, so it’s unable to turn glucose from food into energy. The most common symptoms are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Passing water more often, especially at night
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Uncharacteristic bed wetting
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Fruity breath

If you or your child have any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately – even waiting for just 24 hours can be dangerous. And if it’s not diabetes, it’s best to be reassured as soon as possible.

Controlling Your Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes can be effectively managed using insulin, with regular finger prick blood glucose testing to keep a check on your levels. You can also help to control your blood glucose levels with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Who Gets Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes normally develops in younger people of either sex, but it can occur at any age. No one really knows why certain people develop the condition, but the risk factors are:

  • Genetics and family history. If you have a close relative with Type 1 diabetes (a mother, father, sister or brother), you’ve around a 6% increased chance of developing the condition yourself.**
  • Diseases of the pancreas. Injury or damage to the pancreas can inhibit its ability to produce insulin and lead to Type 1 diabetes.
  • Infection or illness. A range of relatively rare infections and illnesses can damage the pancreas and cause Type 1 diabetes.
If you or your child is newly diagnosed…
…Take it one day at a time and get as much help as you can

It’s going to take a while for you to understand diabetes and to get blood glucose levels under control. But it will happen and if you’re feeling like you can’t cope right now, don’t worry… you soon will and you’ll see that by being positive, life with diabetes really won’t hold you or your child back.

  • Try and accept as much help as possible, particularly from other family members
  • Eat and sleep as well as your can - you need your strength
  • Encourage everyone to get on with their normal lives
  • Get as much information as you can, but choose the people you listen to wisely - not everyone’s advice will be helpful
  • Ask your GP or hospital care team if there are any local support groups you can go to.

For more information on managing your Type 1 diabetes please click here

More information

Understanding Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Children & Diabetes


Managing Your Diabetes
Foot Care

**Diabetes UK