doctors are seeing an alarming rise in the number of type 1 diabetes cases across the nation.
monica robins tells us doctors have some theories but they don't know exactly what is behind the spike.
amelie o'connor is a normal kid in every way... except one...
amelie o'connor, type 1 diabetes patient: "you have this organ in your body called the pancreas that every time you eat gives you insulin and mine just stopped working so i need special help for that."
she's not alone... amelie is among a growing number of young people being diagnosed with type one diabetes..
dr. betul hatipoglu, cleveland clinic: "but the latest report from the cdc shows that within the last 10 years, we have seen 23% increase in the type 1 diabetic."
what's frightening... is doctors don't know why...
dr. betul hatipoglu, cleveland clinic: "of course, there is a genetic predisposition, but the rise is in many different countries, so genes are not enough to explain this increase."
there are several theories for the spike including possible environmental causes such as our clean environment that doesn't expose kids to germs that helps their immune system mature...
too much processed food eaten by kids or pregnant mothers and kids maturing too fast.
angelika o'connor, amelie's mother: "it's scary to me because as long as we don't know why there is this increase we can't really help or prevent it."
tony rotella learned he had type one three years ago..
tony rotella, type 1 diabetes patient: "i had pretty much all the textbook symptoms i think you could have."
including sudden weight loss, extreme thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, fatigue..
today both tony and amelie use pumps to regulate their insulin levels.. they test their glucose levels several times a day and must be vigilant about food...
tony rotella, type 1 diabetes patient: "a lot of needle pricks and you're constantly thinking about what you're eating. it changes your dietary habits of course and your lifestyle as a whole."
it's a manageable disease but left undiagnosed can be deadly... so it's critical to know the signs and get checked...
angelika o'connor, amelie's mother: "you need to right away take care of it or the long term effects are just devastating."
the american diabetes association says that type one diabetes is usually diagnosed in kids and young adults.
only five percent of people who have diabetes have type one.