Today is World Diabetes Day!
Before a little over a year ago I didn’t know much about this day. Little did I know that this day would mean so much to me. Last summer my daughter started to show symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes. She was drinking excessive amounts of water (chugging glass after glass of water), going to the bathroom a lot, tired all the time, hives, and losing weight. My mother’s intuition told me something wasn’t right! It couldn’t be Type 1 Diabetes, that was hereditary, right?
My husband and I have no family history of Type 1 Diabetes.
I tested her blood sugar after tennis practice one day and the meter read HIGH. The meter reads up to 600, so her blood sugar had to be higher than that. So, we headed to the hospital! They tested her A1c, and it was 13.1! A normal A1c is below 5.7. Luckily, she wasn’t in DKA, which is Diabetic ketoacidosis. DKA is a serious complication when there isn’t enough insulin in the body. The body produces ketones (excessive blood acids) and left untreated it can cause Diabetic coma or death. Unfortunately, most children are diagnosed after they go into DKA. My daughter’s pediatrician never tested her A1c, I guess because we have no family history.
My mother’s intuition told me something wasn’t right!
Because of the technology now, my daughter lives a normal life. She has a Dexcom (blood glucose monitor) and an Insulin Pump. Her Dexcom lets us see her blood sugar on our phones and alerts us if her blood sugar is low or high. A normal blood sugar is 70-120mg/dL, but for diabetics 70-180mg/dL is acceptable.
Her Insulin pump gives her insulin for the food that she eats as well as daily insulin to keep her blood sugar regulated. She definitely still has bad days, but the good days outweigh the bad.
The first year of diagnosis is extremely hard to figure out what their insulin needs are.
It’s all trial and error. If she gets too much insulin then her blood sugar can drop, which causes blurred vision, nausea, confusion, fatigue/weakness, shaky, dizziness.
If it drops too much, then she can go unconscious and/or have a seizure. If she doesn’t get enough insulin then her blood sugar goes up, which causes headaches, confusion, inability to focus, fatigue/weak, blurred vision. Her A1c is down to 6.5, which is great for a diabetic.
There are 3 types of Diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, and Gestational Diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that your body stops producing insulin and you must take daily insulin injections to survive. With Type 1 Diabetes your body attacks itself by mistake. The body attacks the cells that make insulin in the pancreas, this can go on for months or years before symptoms occur. Type 1 Diabetes is typically diagnosed in children but can be diagnosed at any age.
Type 2 Diabetes is usually developed from lifestyle choices and/or obesity, which results in the body still produces insulin but doesn’t use it efficiently. Type 2 Diabetes is typically diagnosed over the age of 45, but with the obesity epidemic we are now seeing it in children.
Gestational Diabetes occurs during pregnancy. This occurs when hormones during pregnancy make the insulin less effective. Women who have Gestational Diabetes have a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life.