John Phillips, a 6-year-old boy, was always very active, and his parents became concerned when the counselors at summer camp told them that he seemed to not have much energy. When he got home from camp, John's parents noticed that he was thirsty all the time and running to the bathroom. He was very hungry but seemed to be losing weight, despite eating more than enough. John's parents took him to the pediatrician, who did several blood glucose tests and told them that their son has type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), which used to be called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes.
This story has a happy ending because John's parents were willing to do the necessary things to bring John's glucose under control. John is just as energetic as ever, but he has had to get used to a few inconveniences in his daily routine. (I cover such daily lifestyle changes in Part III.) The following sections detail the symptoms and causes of this type of diabetes.
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Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...