Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Diabetes Awareness Month

Last year, a very dear friend of ours was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  She was 11 at the time.  While I have had several friends who've also have Type 1 Diabetes, I have learned more about this disease in the past year than I had known before.  As the CDC is releasing information that numbers are rising for Type 2 Diabetes, it is important to be aware of Type 1 Diabetes as well.  They are different. 

Our friend, and her family, have learned the ins and outs of Type 1 Diabetes.  They have experienced how people react, how schools handle kids with special circumstances, and how to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle.  They are now on a life-long journey of living with diabetes.  You can follow their story on the blog Type A Mom Type 1 Kid.

In the meantime, take a look at the information.  It is important to know.  November is Diabetes Awareness Month.  Share what you know, pass this along, spread the word.  Information is the key!

Information from the JDRF – Basic info on type 1 diabetes.  
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved.
Affects Children and Adults
Type 1 diabetes usually strikes children, adolescents, and young adults, but it can be diagnosed in adults as well. It comes on suddenly, causes dependence on injected or pumped insulin for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications.
Needs Constant Attention
To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes must take multiple insulin injections daily or continually infuse insulin through a pump. They must also test their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day. While trying to balance insulin doses with their food intake and daily activities, people with this form of diabetes still must always be prepared for serious hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions, both of which can be life-limiting and life threatening.
Not Cured By Insulin
While insulin injections or infusions allow a person with type 1 to stay alive, they do not cure diabetes, nor do they necessarily prevent the possibility of the disease’s devastating effects, which may include: kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, amputations, heart attack, stroke, and pregnancy complications.
Difficult to Manage
Despite paying rigorous attention to maintaining a meal plan and exercise regimen and always injecting the proper amount of insulin, people with type 1 diabetes face many other factors that can adversely affect efforts to tightly control blood sugar levels. These factors include stress, hormonal changes, periods of growth, physical activity, medications, illness/infection, and fatigue.

  • As many as three million Americans may have type 1 diabetes.
  • Each year, more than 15,000 children – 40 per day – are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the U.S.
Warning Signs
Warning signs of type 1 diabetes may occur suddenly and include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Drowsiness or lethargy
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sugar in the urine
  • Fruity odor on the breath
  • Heavy or labored breathing
  • Stupor or unconsciousness

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