Ask Dr. Gigi

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What to know about type 1 diabetes

Ask Dr. Gigi WCCO diabetes
Dr. Gigi Chawla (right) joins WCCO’s Kylie Bearse and Jason DeRusha to talk about type 1 diabetes.

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Gigi Chawla, MD, senior medical director of primary care for Children’s Minnesota, joined WCCO Mid-Morning hosts Kylie Bearse and Jason DeRusha to discuss how type 1 diabetes affects kids.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where a person’s body attacks the cells that produce insulin. It’s exact cause is unknown, but environmental and genetic factors are involved. It can happen quickly with a rapid onset. Each year, more than 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. Of those people, 187,000 are children.

Symptoms

  • Excessive thirst
  • Constant hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Bedwetting

Parents who are concerned their children may have T1D are encouraged visit one of our clinics for blood and urine testing.

At Children’s McNeely Pediatric Diabetes Center in St. Paul, we care for more young patients with type 1 diabetes — the type typically found in children and teens — than any other medical center in Minnesota.

How it’s treated

  • Treatment depends on a child’s age
  • Healthy diet and medication; a healthy diet will significantly impact how a child with T1D feels.
  • Managing insulin that matches diet
  • With insulin shots or pump

Managing type 1 diabetes is a 24/7 job for kids and their families, so it’s helpful for friends and schools to be supportive to ensure children living with T1D are able to thrive.

Learn more information about the Diabetes and Endocrinology program at Children’s Minnesota.