Type 1 Diabetes

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Type 1 diabetes shares many of the symptoms of Type 2, but only about 5% of people with diabetes have Type 1. However, about 85% to 90% of children and adolescents with diabetes have Type 1. The Wendy Novak Diabetes Institute provides state-of-the art, compassionate care, personalized treatment plans and family education for children with Type 1 diabetes.

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What is Type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease that causes the pancreas to produce little or no insulin. Without the hormone insulin, sugar cannot turn into nutrients and help move those nutrients into the body’s cells to produce energy. Sugar then builds up in the bloodstream, causing hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar.

People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily. If not treated, hyperglycemia (the excess sugar in the blood) can cause damage to the body and may even cause death.

Complications that may result from Type 1 diabetes include:

  • Circulation issues
  • Eye issues, including blindness
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve disease

Type 1 diabetes symptoms

Type 1 diabetes symptoms often appear suddenly during infancy or childhood. Each child is different, so symptoms may appear differently. The most common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Dehydration
  • Excess drowsiness or fatigue
  • Increased and significant thirst
  • Increased urination: Parents may notice babies need frequent diaper changes; toilet-trained children may start to wet themselves and/or wet the bed more frequently
  • Increased appetite, but the child experiences weight loss instead of gain
  • Mood changes, including irritability, and fussiness in smaller children
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting

Type 1 Diabetes Services with Norton Children’s Endocrinology

  • Diabetes emergency department and inpatient care
    • Norton Children’s Hospital is ranked No. 16 nationally in the 2022 US. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospital listing for treating pediatric diabetes and endocrinology patients 
  • Dedicated outpatient care at the Novak Center for Children’s Health
  • Diabetes educators, nurses, dietitians, psychologists, social workers, exercise physiologists and nurse practitioners to help children and families learn to manage and cope with diabetes
  • Eight pediatric physician specialists in diabetes care, education and research, including:
    • Wendy Novak Endowed Chair of Pediatric Diabetes Care and Clinical Research, held by Kupper A. Wintergerst, M.D., professor of pediatrics, University of Louisville School of Medicine
    • Jack Henderson Endowed Chair of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, held by Michael B. Foster, M.D., associate professor, University of Louisville School of Medicine
  • Diabetes care using the most advanced insulin management and glucose sensing technology
  • Personalized education programs for patients, families and community organizations
  • Telemedicine program for rural areas, improving access for patients outside of Louisville
  • College and transitional care program for children and young adults ages 16 to 26
  • Dedicated Christensen Family Sports & Activity Program focusing on improving the health, safety and athletic performance of every child and young adult with diabetes

Type 1 Club: Support for Children and Families

A Type 1 diagnosis can come with a lot of emotions and changes. When a child is diagnosed, it’s important to remember that the child, parent or caregiver didn’t do or not do anything to cause the condition. The Type 1 Club is a place for kids and teens with Type 1 diabetes and their families to turn for support, education and fellowship after a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis.

Type 1 Diabetes Research at Wendy Novak Diabetes Institute

Our diabetes research team, along with the UofL School of Medicine, is dedicated to the study of Type 1 diabetes. The Wendy Novak Diabetes Institute participates in research programs, including:

  • Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet: An international research program dedicated to the study, prevention and early treatment intervention of Type 1 diabetes. It offers risk screening for relatives of Type 1 diabetes patients and innovative clinical studies to preserve insulin production, with the hope to delay or prevent the onset of Type 1 diabetes.
  • T1D Exchange Registry: This project is being done at 70 diabetes centers in the U.S. to gather data about Type 1 diabetes to improve day-to-day management of the condition and accelerate research.

Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet

Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet can help assess risk for developing Type 1 diabetes and look for answers to unsolved questions related to developing Type 1 diabetes — with the goal to find a cure. Diabetes-related antibodies can be found in the blood years before a diagnosis. A single blood sample can test for their presence. Those with positive antibodies may be eligible for prevention trials through TrialNet.

Individuals up to to age 45 who have a parent, child, brother or sister with Type 1 diabetes or Individuals up to age 20 who have a niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, grandparent, half-sibling or cousin with Type 1 diabetes can be screened.

If interested in participating, schedule an appointment by calling (502) 588-3430 or visit the TrialNet site for more information.T1D Exchange  

People with Type 1 diabetes who are patients at the Wendy Novak Diabetes Institute may be eligible to participate. After signing a consent form to join the registry, the Wendy Novak Diabetes Institute will collect information that is recorded in your medical chart. Additionally, you will complete a questionnaire about your diabetes and current health. No extra visits, blood tests or procedures are needed to participate.

Let your diabetes care provider know if you are interested in participating.

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