Type 1 Diabetes Facts
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that occurs when a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, the hormone that controls blood-sugar levels. T1D develops when the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. The cause of this attack is still being researched, however scientists believe the cause may have genetic and environmental components. There is nothing anyone can do to prevent T1D. Presently, there is no known cure. Who T1D affects Type 1 diabetes (sometimes known as juvenile diabetes) affects children and adults, though people can be diagnosed at any age. With a typically quick onset, T1D must be managed with the use of insulin—either via injection or insulin pump. Soon, people who are insulin dependent may also be able to use artificial pancreas systems to automatically administer their insulin. How T1D is managed Type 1 diabetes is a 24/7 disease that requires constant management. People with T1D continuously and carefully balance insulin intake with eating, exercise and other activities. They also measure blood-sugar levels through finger pricks, ideally at least six times a day, or by wearing a continuous glucose monitor. Even with a strict regimen, people with T1D may still experience dangerously high or low blood-glucose levels that can, in extreme cases, be life threatening. Every person with T1D becomes actively involved in managing his or her disease. Insulin is not a cure While insulin therapy keeps people with T1D alive and can help keep blood-glucose levels within recommended range, it is not a cure, nor does it prevent the possibility of T1D’s serious effects. The outlook for treatments and a cure Although T1D is a serious and challenging disease, long-term management options cont Continue reading >>
What Is The Life Expectancy For Diabetics?
Diabetes is recognized as one of the leading causes of disability and death worldwide. There was a time when Type 2 diabetes was common in people in their late forties and fifties. However, thanks to the easy availability of processed foods, sedentary lifestyles, poor sleep and a host of other unfavorable factors, type 2 diabetes affects millions of young adults throughout the globe today. A report was commissioned in 2010 by the National Academy on an Aging Society. It showed that diabetes cut off an average of 8.5 years from the lifespan of a regular, diabetic 50-year-old as compared to a 50-year-old without the disease. This data was provided by the Health and Retirement Study, a survey of more than 20,000 Americans over the age of 50, done every two years by the University of Michigan. Characterized by high blood glucose levels, T2D can be the result of a combination of genes, obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. If left untreated, diabetes can be life-threatening. Complications of this disease can take a serious toll on a patient’s health and well-being. So, how long do diabetics live, you ask? Does having diabetes shorten one’s life? Let’s address these questions, one by one. MORE: Decoding The Dawn Phenomenon (High Morning Blood Sugar) How Long Do Diabetics Live? Diabetes is a system-wide disorder which is categorized by elevated blood glucose levels. This blood travels throughout the human body and when it is laden with sugar, it damages multiple systems. When the condition is left unchecked or is managed poorly, the lifespan of diabetic patients is reduced due to constant damage. Early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes for preventing its long-term complications is the best coping strategy. So, don’t ignore your doctor’s advice if you’re pre-diabeti Continue reading >>
From The Nurse’s Office To Neuschwanstein Castle
Being friends with a diabetic has definitely been interesting. The first time I met Mattie we were playing Red Rover during recess with the other children in our grade. Mattie seemed just like any other kid, running around and having fun. When I got to know her better I found out she had diabetes, and as a safety measure she had to be escorted everywhere around the school. In case she had a seizure or other diabetic complication, the escort (usually another student in her class) would be able to send for help. Mattie asked me to go with her to the nurse’s office before lunch one day so she could test her blood sugar. I agreed, as it was a great excuse to get out of class early. We walked to the nurse’s office together, talking about whatever 6th grade girls talk about. Our conversation continued even while we were in the nurse’s office and Mattie was retrieving her diabetes supplies and prepping them to take a blood sugar. I didn’t know much about diabetes, so I was completely horrified when I saw Mattie, mid-conversation, stab her finger, squeeze blood out of it, and then stick a glucose meter in the blood. But of course, I wanted to seem cool, so I did my best to continue the conversation while trying not to pass out from the sight of blood. I couldn’t believe someone who acted just like any other kid could have a disease that had to be monitored so often and so painstakingly. I was afraid she might break any minute. Luckily, Mattie has always been very open about her diabetes. Learning from her and how to help if a life threatening situation arises put me at ease and allowed me to view her as a friend again and not as someone who needs to be protected from the world. It took Mattie a while to get her blood sugars under control, but now that she has, we have Continue reading >>
New Research On High Glucose Levels
American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines advise “lowering A1C to below or around 7%” and postprandial (after-meal) glucose levels to 180 mg/dl or below. But new research shows that these glucose levels damage blood vessels, nerves, organs, and beta cells. An article by diabetes blogger Jenny Ruhl analyzes at what blood glucose level organ damage starts. According to Ruhl, research shows that glucose can do harm at much lower levels than doctors had thought. This news could be discouraging or even terrifying. If it’s hard to meet your current glucose goals, how will you reach tighter goals? Such news might make some people give up. But remember, a high postprandial or fasting reading won’t kill you. All we know is that higher numbers correlate with higher chances of complications. You have time to react. In fact, we could choose to look at this as good news. We all know of people who developed complications despite “good control.” But complications are not inevitable; it’s just that so-called “good control” wasn’t really all that good. First, the numbers. “Post-meal blood sugars of 140 mg/dl [milligrams per deciliter] and higher, and fasting blood sugars over 100 mg/dl [can] cause permanent organ damage and cause diabetes to progress,” Ruhl writes. For nerve damage, University of Utah researchers studied people with painful sensory neuropathy, or nerve damage. They found that participants who did not have diabetes but who had impaired glucose tolerance on an oral glucose tolerance test, or OGTT, (meaning that their glucose levels rose to between 140 mg/dl and 200 mg/dl in response to drinking a glucose-rich drink) were much more likely to have a diabetic form of neuropathy than those with lower blood glucose levels. The higher these OGTT num Continue reading >>
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Treating Diabetes: 1921 To The Present Day
The lives of people with diabetes has changed considerably in 50 years. They now have specific tools and easier access to information than ever before. The healthcare professionals who treat them also know more about the complexity of the disease, and which treatments work best. Pending the next medical revolution, Diabetes Québec is demanding the implementation of a national strategy to fight diabetes – a strategy founded on education, prevention, support and treatment. The last 60 years have clearly demonstrated that people with diabetes who are well informed, properly supported and treated appropriately live longer lives in better health. The discovery of insulin and glycemic control Insulin, discovered in 1921 by the legendary Banting, Best and MacLeod collaboration, is nothing short of a miracle. Worldwide, it has saved thousands of patients from certain death. Before the discovery of insulin, diabetics were doomed. Even on a strict diet, they could last no more than three or four years. However, despite the many types of insulin and the first oral hypoglycemic agents that came to market around 1957 in Canada, glycemia control – the control of blood glucose (sugar) levels – still remains an imprecise science. In the 1950s, the method a person used to control his blood glucose levels was to drop a reagent tablet into a small test tube containing a few drops of urine mixed with water. The resulting colour – from dark blue to orange – indicated the amount of sugar in the urine. Even when they monitored their patients closely, doctors realized that blood glucose levels had to be much better controlled in order to delay the major complications significantly affecting their patients’ lives: blindness, kidney disease, gangrene, heart attack and stroke. A disc Continue reading >>
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is much less common than type 2 diabetes and typically affects younger individuals. Type 1 diabetes usually begins before age 40, although there have been people diagnosed at an older age. In the United States, the peak age at diagnosis is around 14. Type 1 diabetes is associated with deficiency (or lack) of insulin. It is not known why, but the pancreatic islet cells quit producing insulin in the quantities needed to maintain a normal blood glucose level. Without sufficient insulin, the blood glucose rises to levels which can cause some of the common symptoms of hyperglycemia. These individuals seek medical help when these symptoms arise, but they often will experience weight loss developing over several days associated with the onset of their diabetes. The onset of these first symptoms may be fairly abrupt or more gradual. To learn more about type 1 diabetes basics, see our type 1 diabetes slideshow. It has been estimated that the yearly incidence of type 1 diabetes developing is 3.7 to 20 per 100,000. More than 700,000 Americans have this type of diabetes. This is about 10% of all Americans diagnosed with diabetes; the other 90% have type 2 diabetes. What You Need to Know about Type 1 Diabetes Type 1 Diabetes Causes Type 1 diabetes usually develops due to an autoimmune disorder. This is when the body's immune system behaves inappropriately and starts seeing one of its own tissues as foreign. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the islet cells of the pancreas that produce insulin are seen as the "enemy" by mistake. The body then creates antibodies to fight the "foreign" tissue and destroys the islet cells' ability to produce insulin. The lack of sufficient insulin thereby results in diabetes. It is unknown why this autoimmune diabetes develops. Most often Continue reading >>
The Effects Of Diabetes On Relationships
Will you leave your SO (significant other) because of diabetes? Committed relationships are hard enough. When you add a chronic illness into the mix of everyday problems, it can place undue stress on a relationship. Do you leave your spouse or partner with diabetes when the going gets tough, or do you stick it out and work together to solve problems that come up, “in sickness and in health?” These are questions you may be asking yourself if you have been going through a tough time in your relationship or marriage due to diabetes. If your partner is in a state of denial and they are refusing to participate in self-care activities or listen to their doctor, this can be quite frustrating. You may be getting burnt out from always trying to fix the right amount of carbohydrates, only to catch your other half in the back room hiding with a box of candy. Feeling like you are the “diabetes police” and always nagging drains the joy out of your relationship. The spouse of a diabetic can feel a loss of control over the future, and be afraid that they will lose their life partner. Conversely, if you are the diabetic in the match, you tend to get quite aggravated with all of the nagging and “sugar-shaming” that can be going on. Maybe your partner didn’t support you by attending diabetes education classes, and now she doesn’t seem to know that it’s ok for you to have an occasional treat. Maybe she doesn’t realize that you are having the extra carbohydrates, but you have a walk planned for after the meal. Sometimes you feel misunderstood. It’s true that diabetes can take a physical, mental and financial toll on a relationship. Remember that your overbearing and controlling partner is acting from a place of genuine caring and concern for you. Now let’s look at t Continue reading >>
History Of Diabetes
Frederick Banting (right) joined by Charles Best in office, 1924 Diabetes is one of the first diseases described with an Egyptian manuscript from c. 1500 BCE mentioning “too great emptying of the urine.” The first described cases are believed to be of type 1 diabetes. Indian physicians around the same time identified the disease and classified it as madhumeha or honey urine noting that the urine would attract ants. The term "diabetes" or "to pass through" was first used in 250 BC by the Greek Apollonius of Memphis. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes were identified as separate conditions for the first time by the Indian physicians Sushruta and Charaka in 400-500 CE with type 1 associated with youth and type 2 with obesity. The term "mellitus" or "from honey" was added by Thomas Willis in the late 1600s to separate the condition from diabetes insipidus which is also associated with frequent urination. Further history Plaque in Strasbourg commemorating the 1889 discovery by Minkowski and Von Mering The first complete clinical description of diabetes was given by the Ancient Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia (fl. 1st century CE), who also noted the excessive amount of urine which passed through the kidneys.” Diabetes mellitus appears to have been a death sentence in the ancient era. Hippocrates makes no mention of it, which may indicate that he felt the disease was incurable. Aretaeus did attempt to treat it but could not give a good prognosis; he commented that "life (with diabetes) is short, disgusting and painful." The disease must have been rare during the time of the Roman empire with Galen commenting that he had only seen two cases during his career. In medieval Persia, Avicenna (980–1037) provided a detailed account on diabet Continue reading >>
You Did Not Eat Your Way To Diabetes!
Don't fall for the toxic myth that you caused your diabetes by reckless overeating. While people with Type 2 diabetes often are seriously overweight, there is accumulating evidence that their overweight is a symptom, not the cause of the process that leads to Type 2 Diabetes. Even so, it is likely that you've been told that you caused your diabetes by letting yourself get fat and that your response to this toxic myth is damaging your health. Blaming you for your condition causes guilt and hopelessness. Even worse, the belief that people with diabetes have brought their disease on themselves inclines doctors to give people with diabetes abysmal care. They assume that since you did nothing to prevent your disease, you won't make the effort to control it. So they ignore your high blood sugars until they have lasted long enough to cause complications and then they prescribe the newest, most expensive, potentially dangerous but heavily marketed drugs, though the drug-maker's own Prescribing Information makes it clear that these drugs cannot lower your blood sugar to the levels that reverse or prevent complications. The myth that diabetes is caused by overeating also hurts the one out of five people who are not overweight when they contract Type 2 Diabetes. Because doctors only think "Diabetes" when they see a patient who fits the stereotype--the grossly obese, inactive patient--they often neglect to check people of normal weight for blood sugar disorders even when they show up with classic symptoms of high blood sugar such as recurrent urinary tract infections or neuropathy. Where Did This Toxic Myth Come From? The way this myth originated is this: People with Type 2 Diabetes often are overweight. And manny people who are overweight have a syndrome called "insulin resistance Continue reading >>
Do I Have Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes (previously called “borderline diabetes”) are occurring in ever increasing numbers in the general population and more specifically in Native Americans. Both conditions occur when the blood glucose (sugar level) is elevated. Both can cause significant damage such as blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart attacks and strokes. These conditions are very treatable if found early, so it’s very important that everyone who has diabetes know it and get proper treatment. • Sometimes the high blood sugars will cause symptoms: • blurred vision • frequent urination (especially at night) • increased thirst/hunger • irritability • fatigue • slow healing cuts or infections You should certainly be checked for diabetes if these symptoms are present. However many people with diabetes or pre-diabetes have no symptoms at all and can go for months or years before the diagnosis is made. Because of this, it’s also important to be screened if you have certain factors that are known to cause increased risk. These risk factors include: Age 45 or older Overweight (Body mass index 25 or higher) Known diabetes in family members (a parent, child, brother or sister). Certain ethnic backgrounds such as Native American, African American, Hispanic Previous history of gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy) or history of having large babies High blood pressure High triglycerides (one of the fats in blood) Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). There are three different ways to be screened for diabetes or pre-diabetes. Each test has its advantages and disadvantages depending on individual circumstances: 1. Fasting blood glucose. Here a blood sample is drawn after you’ve gone without food overnight. 2. Oral glucose tolerance Continue reading >>
Diabetes Symptoms You Can’t Afford To Ignore & What You Can Do About Them
In the U.S., diabetes — or diabetes mellitus (DM) — is full-blown epidemic, and that’s not hyperbole. An estimated 29 million Americans have some form of diabetes, nearly 10 percent of the population, and even more alarming, the average American has a one in three chance of developing diabetes symptoms at some point in his or her lifetime. (1) The statistics are alarming, and they get even worse. Another 86 million people have prediabetes, with up to 30 percent of them developing type 2 diabetes within five years. And perhaps the most concerning, about a third of people who have diabetes — approximately 8 million adults — are believed to be undiagnosed and unaware. That’s why it’s so vital to understand and recognize diabetes symptoms. And there’s actually good news. While there’s technically no known “cure” for diabetes — whether it’s type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes — there’s plenty that can be done to help reverse diabetes naturally, control diabetes symptoms and prevent diabetes complications. The Most Common Diabetes Symptoms Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that results from problems controlling the hormone insulin. Diabetes symptoms are a result of higher-than-normal levels of glucose (sugar) in your blood. With type 1 diabetes, symptoms usually develop sooner and at a younger age than with type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes also normally causes more severe symptoms. In fact, because type 2 diabetes signs and symptoms can be minimal in some cases, it sometimes can go diagnosed for a long period of time, causing the problem to worsen and long-term damage to develop. While it’s still not entirely known how this happens, prolonged exposure to high blood sugar can damage nerve fibers that affect the blood vessels, heart, e Continue reading >>
How Type 2 Diabetes Survived Evolution
Type 2 diabetes is a major public health crisis in the United States and around the world. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people have type 2 diabetes worldwide, and that deaths from complications of diabetes will increase by two thirds between 2008 and 2030. The current epidemic is attributed to unhealthy lifestyles, obesity and lack of exercise, but if it’s so clearly damaging to health, how did it evolve in the first place? Shouldn’t the genetic variants for the disease have been removed from the human population by natural selection long ago? A popular explanation is that insulin resistance, a predisposition to type 2 diabetes, actually provided a protective benefit to humans who lived as hunter-gatherers. Insulin resistance limits the body’s intake of glucose by muscle and liver cells, therefore allowing its storage by fat cells. The body could use this extra glucose, so the theory goes, during cycles of feast and famine when people couldn’t be sure of their next meal. This so-called “thrifty genotype” hypothesis was proposed by University of Michigan geneticist James Neel in 1962, and still holds a lot of sway in the scientific community. Another similar explanation, called the “carnivore connection,” is that insulin resistance developed in hunter-gatherers and herders because they had a low-carbohydrate (and low glucose), protein-rich diet, resulting in the need to save glucose in the blood to make it accessible for the brain. This same resistance was no longer needed in early farmers, however, because they had begun to incorporate carbohydrates into their diets as they learned to cultivate grains. Laure Ségurel, PhD, currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Human Genetics, wanted to find out if Continue reading >>
The History Of Diabetes
For 2,000 years diabetes has been recognized as a devastating and deadly disease. In the first century A.D. a Greek, Aretaeus, described the destructive nature of the affliction which he named “diabetes” from the Greek word for “siphon.” Eugene J. Leopold in his text Aretaeus the Cappodacian describes Aretaeus’ diagnosis: “…For fluids do not remain in the body, but use the body only as a channel through which they may flow out. Life lasts only for a time, but not very long. For they urinate with pain and painful is the emaciation. For no essential part of the drink is absorbed by the body while great masses of the flesh are liquefied into urine.” Physicians in ancient times, like Aretaeus, recognized the symptoms of diabetes but were powerless to effectively treat it. Aretaeus recommended oil of roses, dates, raw quinces, and gruel. And as late as the 17th century, doctors prescribed “gelly of viper’s flesh, broken red coral, sweet almonds, and fresh flowers of blind nettles.” Early Discoveries-Human Guinea Pigs In the 17th century a London physician, Dr. Thomas Willis, determined whether his patients had diabetes or not by sampling their urine. If it had a sweet taste he would diagnose them with diabetes mellitus- “honeyed” diabetes. This method of monitoring blood sugars went largely unchanged until the 20th century. Despite physicians’ valiant efforts to combat diabetes, their patients remained little more than human guinea pigs. In the early 20th century, diabetologists such as Dr. Frederick Allen prescribed low calorie diets-as little as 450 calories per day for his patients. His diet prolonged the life of people with diabetes but kept them weak and suffering from near starvation. In effect, the most a person afflicted with diabetes coul Continue reading >>
10 Things Not To Say To A Person With Diabetes
Every person with diabetes has one: a story of a diabetes-related comment they received that completely left them reeling. There are memes and videos dedicated to these comments. The wise folks at Behavioral Diabetes Institute even made pocket-sized etiquette cards you can hand out to try to save people from their own big mouths. And you’d think it would all be enough to maybe keep people from making hurtful, embarrassing, and woefully misinformed comments to people with diabetes – but from my own life experience, it’s not. So here it is: 10 Things Not to Ask of or Say To, About, or Around a Person with Diabetes. 10. “Gross.” Listen, I know. No one hates the invasive nature of diabetes more than people with diabetes themselves. The poking, the bleeding, the alcohol-swabbing, the insertion of metal objects into subcutaneous tissue. But we do it to survive, and when you call us out for disturbing your delicate sensibilities when we’re just trying to juice up for a slice at the local pizzeria, it’s not helping anyone. Maybe just look away, or go get another beer. Cheers! 9. “Are you well controlled?” I used to think it was just weird primary care physicians who asked this question, but a fellow person with diabetes actually posed this query to me at a barbeque a few weeks ago. First of all, “well controlled” is different for everyone. Second of all, none of your beeswax. And third of all, if I say “no,” what kind of question are you going to ask me next? Let’s talk about the weather, shall we? 8. “Aren’t you worried about having kids?” Yes! The price of higher education is insane! Bullying in schools! Sleepless nights and breastfeeding drama! Climate change and – oh, you’re talking about diabetes? Well, yeah. Probably every person with Continue reading >>
Who: Diabetes Rises Fourfold Over Last Quarter-century
Diabetes rates skyrocket SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Stunning new numbers from the World Health Organization highlight the explosion of diabetes worldwide. Tabulating both type 1 and type 2, the latter more preventable, the health agency announced diabetes cases have quadrupled, calling its spread an "unrelenting march.'' Diabetes has always been around, associated with age, obesity and lifestyle. But now it's striking more people, and younger people, and in nations that never had a problem with it before. Since 1980, cases have grown from 108 million to a current 422 million people living with diabetes. . "Sugar gets a lot of the blame because it deserves a lot of the blame," UCSF Endocrinology Professor and researcher Suneil Koliwad told KTVU, " and there are aspects to the way we live our lives today that are fundamentally unhealthy." At the Diabetes Care Center at UCSF, new patients meet in a classroom setting to learn how to manage their disease with nutrition and exercise. Among the tools they leave with: measuring cups, to help with portion size and over-eating. "As each country around the world adopts the so-called Western lifestyle, we see diabetes go up in those countries," observed Dr Koliwad, who also serves with the Bay Area Chapter of the American Diabetes Association. Sugar is not only present in sweets and sodas, but in processed foods and alcohol as well. Too much of it can overload the pancreas so it stops producing sufficient insulin, the hormone that balances blood sugar. Then those blood levels fluctuate dangerously, unless controlled with oral medication or self-administered insulin. "I do have regrets about what I used to eat before, " diabetes patient Vince Gidvani told KTVU, in the clinic waiting room. Gidvani is in the restaurant business, surrounde Continue reading >>