T1D and T2D

Most people know at least one person with diabetes – a great uncle, a young neighbour. The disease is often described as a worldwide epidemic with a growing number of reported cases each year. Despite such incidence, diabetes is still not very well known. For instance, how many people know that there are different “types” of diabetes? And who is not taken aback when they learn that a child or a teenager is diabetic? Let’s review the facts and rectify some common myths.

Types of Diabetes


According to statistics from the Canadian Pediatric Society, 33,000 school age children (5-18 years old) in Canada have Type 1 Diabetes, and there are several thousands under the age of 5. An estimated 9 to 10% of all diabetics, including children and adults, are insulin-dependent.

Based on data from the National Diabetes Surveillance System (NDSS), the Canadian Diabetes Association forecasts that diabetes will affect nearly 11% of the population by the year 2020. Approximately one million Canadians currently have diabetes without knowing it. Type 2 diabetes is affecting more and more people, young and old. A better awareness of diabetes among the general population is necessary, including the distinction between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.




This disease, often described as an epidemic, is frequently misunderstood due to assumptions and misinformation. The media and people in general are rarely able to explain the distinction between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.

The Diabetic Children’s Foundation would like to increase public awareness about both types of diabetes and dispel the myths that lead to a great deal of prejudice against children. For this reason, the Foundation seeks to encourage the media, its partners and its member families to raise public awareness about young insulin-dependent diabetics.






“You are diabetic because you ate too much sugar.” FALSE. There is no relation between Type 1 Diabetes and sugar intake. For type 1 diabetics, the pancreas merely stops producing insulin, which leads to an overload of sugar in the blood, or hyperglycemia. Some research findings suggest that genetic and environmental elements might be aggravating factors.

“Diabetes is a disease that affects overweight people.”



First of all, Type 1 Diabetes is not triggered by diet. In fact the opposite is true; one of the early symptoms of T1D is weight loss, since the child’s cells no longer have access to the energy created by carbohydrate transformation.

Secondly, while obesity has been identified as a risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes and can be aggravated by a high carbohydrate intake, it is not the only factor.

Finally, it is important to understand that Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes have very different causes, even though their symptoms are similar.

“Women with T1D cannot have children.”


FALSE. Type 1 diabetic women can safely give birth to healthy children. However women and their partner must make additional efforts to control this condition, including monitoring and frequently adjusting acute blood glucose.
“Diabetic children should limit their physical activity.” FALSE.

To remain healthy, diabetics and people in general should maintain an active lifestyle. T1D children and teenagers can practice their favourite sports, as long as their daily diets and insulin doses are adjusted accordingly.

Many athletes with T1D have accomplished astounding feats in recent years. Take Sébastien Sasseville for instance who ran across Canada, from April to November, 2014, or closer to home, Etienne Masse, who completed his first marathon in August during the Montreal Marathon.