- Type 1 diabetes, aka juvenile diabetes, cannot be controlled through diet and exercise. That is type 2, aka adult onset diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetics can eat food that contains sugar. Please see #1 above.
- Type 1 diabetics will die without their insulin.
- Insulin does not cure type 1 diabetes. The disease is for life.
- Type 1 diabetics will not "grow out of" the disease. See #4 above.
- Insulin is a hormone that helps break down carbohydrates into sugars/glucose so the body can use them. Type 1 diabetics produce no insulin.
- Sugar-free does not equal carb-free.
- Type 1 diabetics cannot take a day off from their insulin. Please see #3 above.
Imagine going to a restaurant with your three-year-old and asking the waitress to see the nutrition information for the items on the menu. Now imagine said waitress eyeballing you when you say you need to know how many carbs are in their macaroni and cheese with fries and a chocolate milk kids' meal. No matter what the waitress is actually thinking, this is what many moms of diabetic children think they are thinking. "Why is she making that cute little kid diet/ so conscious of what she's eating? She's not fat." And then you open your mouth to explain, and then you close your mouth because it's not the waitress's business. And then you open it again because you might be able to educate the waitress about Type 1. Then you close it again because half the chocolate milk is gone and you forgot to take your kid's pre-meal sugar.
Imagine, after this carb-filled meal, that the waitress happens to return to your table to ask if you want anything else, and you are sticking a needle into your kid's behind, the syringe cap clenched between your lips. Again, the diabetic mom's thoughts run in the direction of "Is that a look of pity? It better not be." And your inner mom lion roars, but you give it a steak and tell it to go settle down for a while. You chose to give shots in public so your child would not feel "different" or feel that her diabetes is something she should hide or be ashamed of.
This is a disease that, quite simply, most Americans know little to nothing about. They do know about Type 2 diabetes because obesity and health care are in the news just about every day. But these are two very different diseases. For more information, please go to the JDRF, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, website at JDRF.