Frequently asked T1D questions
Find answers to commonly asked questions about type 1 diabetes (T1D), including the causes, treatment, research and more.
Can you catch T1D?
T1D is not contagious. You can’t catch it like a cold, the flu or chicken pox. Doctors know some things about T1D, but they still don’t know what causes the disease. One thing they are sure of: people living with T1D did not catch it from anyone else. Neither can you!
What is the difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes?
T1D is an autoimmune disease. For reasons not fully understood, the body’s immune system destroys the insulin-producing beta cells within the pancreas. Without insulin, sugar (glucose) cannot move from the bloodstream into the cells of the body to provide them with the energy they need to function. People with T1D must take insulin manually, either through daily injections or from an insulin pump.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes some insulin, but either there’s not enough of it or the cells don’t use it well. Children and adults with type 2 diabetes don’t always need to take insulin, as people with T1D do. Type 2 diabetes is often treated with other medication and by eating healthy foods and exercising regularly.
Can I get T1D from eating too much sugar or junk food?
T1D is not caused by eating too much sugar or junk food. You may get problems with your teeth and other bodily systems from eating too much sugar, and you may be unhealthy.
T1D is an autoimmune disease, and it’s actually caused by the autoimmune process. The body’s immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin – so it’s nothing to do with diet at all!
Does insulin fix T1D?
Insulin is not a cure for T1D, it’s a treatment. Everyone has a pancreas, and everyone needs insulin to live. Everyone with T1D has to make up for the fact that their pancreas no longer makes insulin. They take insulin through injections or an insulin pump.
Scientists are trying to find ways to fix or replace the damaged pancreatic cells in people with T1D. They hope the new cells will once again produce insulin. Now, that would be a cure!
Can people with T1D eat cake and ice cream?
Yes, they can! But like everybody else, they should not eat too much of these types of foods. In truth, there’s actually nothing you can’t eat if you’ve got T1D. As long as the person living with T1D covers it with insulin, they are absolutely fine to be eating the same as everybody else.
Can you tell if a person has T1D just by looking at them?
Sometimes people living with T1D use devices called insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitors, which they attach to their bodies. But, the truth is, they’re just like everybody else! They look and act perfectly “normal”. It’s only their pancreases that does not work right.
Can people with T1D lead normal lives?
They sure can! Living with T1D may not be easy, but people with the disease can do anything they set their minds to. There are actors, doctors, racing car drivers, footballers, writers, and even Olympic athletes who live with T1D.
Can you get rid of T1D with a special diet?
You can’t get rid of diabetes because it’s not diet related. So, when people are saying they got rid of their diabetes, they’re likely talking about type 2 diabetes which can be reversible in some cases. For people who live with T1D, the only treatment available right now is insulin.
Can you get type 1 diabetes if you’re not overweight?
This is a common myth about T1D. Type 1 diabetes affects people of all shapes and sizes.
Looking for more answers on life with T1D?
Download one of our FREE resources:
- Straight to the Point – for adults living with T1D
- Testing Times – a wellbeing guide for teens living with T1D
- Teen Toolkit – for parents of teens living with T1D.
I am interested in hearing more about…