Have you heard? I've started a separate blog,
The Sugar Sharks, all about our life with Type I Diabetes.

Friday, November 20, 2009

American Diabetes Month

This month is American Diabetes Month. My daughter, M, was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes last fall at the age of 5. She receives 4-6 insulin injections and the same number of finger sticks each day. Nobody knows what causes this disease, and there is no cure.

Do you know the difference between Type I and Type 2 Diabetes? Most of the time when someone refers to diabetes, they are referring to Type II.
  • Type I Diabetes is an auto-immune disease, and the cause is not known. At some point, often in childhood (hence the nickname "Juvenile Diabetes"), the pancreas simply stops producing insulin. ** It is a completely different disease from Type 2 Diabetes, which is the one most people know about. **
  • Type I Diabetes IS NOT CAUSED BY DIET. (It's a pet peeve of mine that people assume we were feeding our daughter too many sweets and that's what caused her diabetes. Please, refrain from making comments... even jokes... about this when you are talking to a diabetic!)
  • Type I Diabetics eat normal foods... including desserts.... because they have to have a dose of insulin for every single thing they eat. The diet recommended for a Type I Diabetic is exactly the same as the one recommended for the general population-- not too much fat, eat your fruits & veggies, etc. Almost any food eaten will require an insulin dose, so there's no reason that Type I diabetics can't eat the same foods as anyone else.
  • Type I Diabetics will never completely have their disease "under control", no matter how careful they are. Highs and lows seem to come out of nowhere sometimes. Eating the exact same foods and doing the exact same activities on two days does not always equal the same blood glucose readings. Variables such as stress, hormones, growth, and illness make it a constantly changing challenge to keep blood sugars in a healthy range. (Asking a diabetic if they have their numbers "under control yet" is kind of like asking a someone on chemo about their blood work- despite our best efforts, these numbers may still be out of whack.)
  • Children will not outgrow Type I Diabetes.
  • Insulin is life support for diabetics.... it is not a cure. There is no cure. (Yet.)

The potential complications of this disease are always in the back of my mind, but, we try not to let any of that interfere with daily life. My daughter is a fighter. She rarely complains about any of it, and she certainly doesn't let it slow her down... and for that, I am thankful!

1 comment:

  1. My friend is a diabetes researcher at the U of M and they are making progress. Kids are at the top of the list, because they have the best chance of adapting to therapies available.

    I hope the cures are coming. I know that they have some great researchers working on it. ICLW


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