Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called children's diabetes, is a condition that causes the body to stop producing insulin (unlike type 2, which causes reduced production or resistance to insulin). Insulin is the hormone that the body uses to take glucose from the blood and to the cells, where it can be used as energy.
We don't really know what causes diabetes, but we do know that with proper management, most people can live long, healthy lives with diabetes. So what should you know if your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?

First, don't panic about the kind of life your child will have. Although there will need to be some lifestyle changes, people with diabetes can eat normal food - even sweets. As long as it's part of a healthy meal plan and a lifestyle that includes exercise, your child shouldn't have to give up any of his or her favorite foods completely. Besides, don't we all eat too many sweets anyway? Your child just has a bigger reason to cut back.

It's important to talk to your doctor about whether or not your child should use insulin. Many people have the wrong idea about insulin, believing that it's unhealthy because it causes weight gain. Although insulin can increase the risk of weight gain, glucose management is an important part of a healthy lifestyle with diabetes. As long as using insulin is part of a healthy diet, risk should be minimal compared to the benefits.

It's important to try to stay healthy, as sicknesses can cause glucose levels to become very high. If your child gets sick, you will want to have a plan of action in place already to avoid serious complications. You'll want to talk to a diabetes educator about what your plan of action should be if your child's illness becomes more than just a little sniffle. Make sure your child gets flu shots and pneumonia shots, as people with diabetes have a greater risk of dying from complications of these illnesses than people without it.

It's normal for you or your child to feel angry or depressed. The important thing is to make sure that doesn't turn into a liability in managing your diabetes. Instead, work to turn the anger into a tool that helps you to fight against diabetes, not against treatment, and work with your doctor to make sure that depression doesn't become too much of a problem. Get professional help to deal with it if you need to.

It's important to be ready for emergencies, now more than ever - and not just diabetic emergencies. Never be without at least three days worth of supplies just in case there's some reason that you can't get more supplies quickly.

The most important thing to remember is that people with diabetes can lead very normal lives as long as they allow for a little more planning than people without it.