PAYSON, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) Diabetes has become an epidemic in this country, in large part because of unhealthy diets and inactive lifestyles. That only applies to people with type 2 diabetes.
Doctors say type 1 also known as juvenile diabetes can hit anyone at any time without warning.
As a young father of three, Adam Jensen likes to stay active and busy, so it came a quite a surprise when the Payson resident was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 27.
"Most of the time, you're out of the question, once you hit 21, really.
That's because a majority of cases happen to children or teens, hence the name juvenile diabetes.
"You have to change your whole life," said Jensen.
"It was like having your worst nightmare coming true."
The nightmare didn't stop there. Two of the Jensen's three boys were shortly thereafter diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
"You have to get like shots and everything," said Max Jensen. "It really stings like a bee."
"It's horrible, no parent wants to hear that their child is going to have a disease for the rest of their life," said Kara Jensen, wife and mother.
Having three diabetics in the family means the Jensens are more educated than most.
"The difference between type 1 and type 2 is that type one is a non-curable disease, where type two can be reversed through exercise and diet," said Kara.
University of Utah doctor, Tim Graham, has spent his career studying both types.
"Type 1 diabetes is really what we call an auto-immune disease," said Dr. Graham.
"All of a sudden, literally overnight, people can go from being alright to being seriously ill and in the hospital."
However, according to Dr. Graham, type 2 diabetes is mainly caused by lifestyle choices.
"Type 2 is wonderful because we can actually prevent it, type one we have no tool whatsoever," said Dr. Graham.
The obesity epidemic explains a rise in type 2 case, but it doesn't explain why there's a spike in cases of type 1, like in Adam and his boys.
"It's a combination of things, I'm not sure that there's more adults getting it, it's just that we're smarter about noticing that's what's going on," said Dr. Graham.
Four years after his diagnosis, Adam and his family seem to be adjusting quite well to their new life.
Ground-breaking researching happening at the University of Utah could soon change the lives of diabetes across the globe. Tune in to a second report Monday at 6pm to find out how.
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