PCH Type 1 Children What is Diabetes

what is diabetes if someone is diagnosed with diabetes it means there is too much sugar in their blood this is also known as high blood sugar to understand exactly what this means let's take a look at what happens when we eat food we eat food to get energy for our body most energy comes from carbohydrates in our food when we eat carbohydrates our body's digestive system breaks it down into sugar then the sugar moves from our digestive system into our blood when the sugar is in the blood we call it blood sugar another name for blood sugar is glucose now the reason sugar is in the blood is because it needs to get to all of the cells of the body so it can be used as energy each cell has a special pathway that lets sugar into the cell you can think of it like a door but this door is always locked and the cell only lets sugar in if there is a key to unlock the door this key is called insulin insulin is a special hormone that moves through our blood to unlock cells so sugar can get inside the cells once it's inside our cells turn sugar into the energy that they need so where does insulin come from insulin is made in the pancreas if we look a little closer we can see insulin is actually made in special cells of the pancreas called beta cells these are the only cells in the body that can make insulin when the pancreas is working correctly it makes just the right amount of insulin to get the sugar from our bloodstream into our cells in someone who has type 1 diabetes the pancreas stops making insulin the doors to the cells stay locked and the sugar cannot get inside the cells to make energy and the sugar stays in the blood this is what it looks like inside someone who has diabetes this video series is about type 1 diabetes in children type 2 diabetes is a different type of diabetes in type 2 diabetes the body can still make insulin but it doesn't make enough and the insulin doesn't work very well this means not enough sugar can get into the cells and too much sugar stays in the blood this video series will only focus on type 1 diabetes in children what causes type 1 diabetes here's what happens usually our body's immune system protects us by fighting bacteria and viruses the immune system destroys bacteria and viruses to keep us healthy but in type 1 diabetes the person's immune system makes a mistake diabetes happens when the immune system attacks the cells inside the pancreas that make insulin it is a mistake but slowly the immune system will destroy these cells unfortunately there is no cure yet that will stop the immune system or replace the beta cells of the pancreas that have been attacked how do we treat type 1 diabetes we just saw how in someone with type 1 diabetes the pancreas is not putting any insulin into the blood so what do we need we need insulin from somewhere else this is why insulin injections are the treatment for type 1 diabetes insulin injections add insulin to the body and gets the sugar from our bloodstream into our cells so our body is able to make energy in the videos that follow you will learn how to check your child's blood sugar and calculate the right amount of insulin that your child needs if you have any questions ask your diabetes team