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Living With Diabetes Type 1

Type 1 Diabetes: Children Living With The Disease - Topic Overview

Type 1 Diabetes: Children Living With The Disease - Topic Overview

Is this topic for you? This topic covers type 1 diabetes in children. For information about type 1 diabetes in adults and about preventing complications from type 1 diabetes, see the topic Type 1 Diabetes. What is type 1 diabetes? Type 1 diabetes develops when the pancreas stops making insulin. Your body needs insulin to let sugar (glucose) move from the blood into the body's cells, where it can be used for energy or stored for later use. Without insulin, the sugar cannot get into the cells to do its work. It stays in the blood instead. This can cause high blood sugar levels. A person has diabetes when the blood sugar is too high. What will it be like for your child to live with type 1 diabetes? Your child can live a long, healthy life by learning to manage his or her diabetes. It will become a big part of your and your child's life. You play a major role in helping your child take charge of his or her diabetes care. Let your child do as much of the care as possible. At the same time, give your child the support and guidance he or she needs. How can you manage diabetes? The key to managing diabetes is to keep blood sugar levels in a target range. To do this, your child needs to take insulin, eat about the same amount of carbohydrate at each meal, and exercise. Part of your child's daily routine also includes checking his or her blood sugar levels at certain times, as advised by your doctor. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely he or she is to have problems, such as diseases of the eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys. For some reason, children seem protected from these problems during childhood. But if your child can control his or her blood sugar levels every day, it may help prevent problems later on. What symptoms should you watch for? Even wh Continue reading >>

Pricks And Needles: What Living With Type 1 Diabetes Is Like

Pricks And Needles: What Living With Type 1 Diabetes Is Like

Type 1 diabetes, a rarer form of the chronic disease, affects three million Americans. Here's one of them. Back in early 2001, I was a happy, but slightly overweight, 13-year-old boy. Just before the summer I decided to start eating less junk food in hopes of shedding a couple of pounds from my 135-pound frame. I got results quickly -- and my weight kept dropping. Looking back, the signs that something was amiss were obvious. I couldn't make it through 50-minute class periods in middle school without having to run off and pee. It felt like my thirst could never be satiated. I was always tired. But the weight loss was the most obvious sign. Weight kept coming off. 125 pounds, 120, 115. My parents called my pediatrician, but diabetes never came up as a potential cause. An unusual teenage growth spurt prior to puberty was a possibility. An eating disorder was also suggested. By the time I arrived for my annual physical on Nov. 6, 2001, none of my clothes fit and I weighed just 98 pounds -- nearly 30 percent less than my peak weight. More phone calls and doctors' appointments revealed nothing. Back at home after the appointment, I hopped in the shower but was almost immediately interrupted by my mom. The doctor's office called with results from my blood test and I had to get to the emergency room. When I checked into the hospital, my blood sugar was 971. The normal range is 80-150. The doctors said I would have fallen into a diabetic coma within another week. Back then, diabetes seemed like a death sentence. My whole life routine would have to change. I would have to check my blood glucose at least five times a day and stick myself with needles at least four times a day. But for the past ten years, I've been living with an illness that could shorten my life expectancy by 15 Continue reading >>

What It’s Really Like To Have A Child With Type 1 Diabetes

What It’s Really Like To Have A Child With Type 1 Diabetes

I have two daughters with Type 1 diabetes, and in my experience there’s a disconnect between what people think it’s like to have Type 1 diabetes and what it actually is like. Many people are not aware of all the variables that come into play to control blood sugars. Some people think you take your medicine and you get a steady blood glucose of 120. In reality, you have to guess what the dose of your insulin is based on your guess of what the carbs in the food are based on what your guess is of the portion of food that will be eaten. Plus, you must take into account your guess of the amount of fat and protein in the food, and whether one has just exercised or is about to exercise (and how much exertion that exercise will involve). If you are about to go to sleep that must be taken into account, or if you’re going to be somewhere difficult to treat a low (such as a child on a school bus) keep that in mind as well. And don’t forget to pray that your pump infusion set is working and that your insulin didn’t fry in the heat. Now push go on your pump, or poke your arm with a needle and, voilà, you’re done! A diabetes disconnect also results from confusing headlines, such as Cure for Type 1 Discovered (it’s in mice) or New Drug for Diabetes (it’s for Type 2). Many book titles are misleading as well, often using language like ‘Reversing Diabetes’ or ‘Preventing Diabetes’ while meaning Type 2 diabetes and not Type 1. Even medical journals often don’t distinguish between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in their titles. Recently, I saw a friend whom I hadn’t seen for a long time. When I pulled out my daughters’ meters and lancets to check blood sugars, she said “I didn’t think you still had to do that.” This is not the first time I’ve heard someon Continue reading >>

Type 1 Diabetes Finally Explained

Type 1 Diabetes Finally Explained

Let me say this with no exaggeration. My whole life, all day, all night, every day and each night is about keeping my blood sugar between the red and yellow lines. Whether I’m wearing, or not wearing, my continuous glucose monitor (CGM), screen pictured below. (The little white dots between the red and yellow lines are my blood sugar levels every five minutes. The 99 mg/dl (5.4 mmol/l) was my blood sugar level the moment I took this photo. The larger white dots are glare from the camera.) I just explained this “staying between the lines” to my mother, now being able to visibly show her on my monitor what I’ve long tried to tell her: Type 1 diabetes is a tightrope walk — all day and all night taking action to anticipate, prevent and recover from my blood sugar going too high and too low. My life is, and will forever be, staying between the lines. I got diabetes in February 1972 when I was 18 years old. I’m now 60. I’ve had diabetes more than four decades, more than two-thirds of my life. I have no memory of what life was like before “staying between the lines.” Type 1 diabetes is the other diabetes. The one you don’t hear about on TV commercials — that’s Type 2 diabetes. People with Type 2 diabetes produce insulin but not enough or their body doesn’t use it effectively. While people with Type 2 diabetes also must keep their blood sugar between the lines, it doesn’t require as intense effort. Even for those who take insulin, certain hormones they have that Type 1s lack, help to regulate their after meal blood sugars from rising too high and offset severe low blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. Your body destroys your pancreas’ insulin-producing (beta) cells. You no longer produce insulin, or at most a trace amount. It’s Continue reading >>

10 Tips For Teenagers To Live Well With Type 1 Diabetes

10 Tips For Teenagers To Live Well With Type 1 Diabetes

Twitter Summary: @asbrown1 shares his top 10 tips for living w/ #T1D, straight from presentation to 100+ teens at #CWDFFL15 At the Children with Diabetes Friends For Life Conference this month, I had the incredible opportunity to speak to ~100 teenagers with diabetes. My talk, “10 Tips for Living Well with Type 1,” was a lot of fun to put together, and our team thought diaTribe readers might be interested in seeing it. I agonized over how to present this so that it wouldn’t come across as a lecture – even my teenage self would not react well to some of the advice (“Sleep seven hours a night? Hah! I have sports plus exams plus the next level to beat in Halo 3!”). I concluded that the best thing I could do was make this session a conversation, but ground it in lessons I’ve learned over time. Thankfully, I also had the amazing FFL staff by my side to help guide the discussion. The session reminded me of something that I intuitively know but often forget: each person’s diabetes is completely different, and what works for me won’t work for everyone. And equally important, what works for me may change over time – it certainly has since I was a teenager. I’m sharing the slides below in case they’re useful, but my biggest hope is that it gets you thinking about your own diabetes. What motivates you? What drags you down? What can you do better today? Who can you reach out to for support? Let us what you think by email or on Twitter. As the oldest of six kids, I had a lot of responsibility from a young age, and my Mom was also a very hands-off parent; both helped me take the reins of my diabetes from an early age. I hope everyone can find the right balance between taking care of their own diabetes, but also relying on their parents for support when needed. Continue reading >>

This Is What It's Like To Live With Type 1 Diabetes

This Is What It's Like To Live With Type 1 Diabetes

You probably know someone with type 1 diabetes (there are 1.25 million American children and adults living with the autoimmune disease), but do you really know what they're going through each day? Here's a brief glimpse: They're constantly checking their glucose numbers, watching what they eat, and worrying about how stress and other factors will influence their blood sugar. To learn more about what it's like to manage the condition day in and day out, read on. (Take back control of your eating—and lose weight in the process—with our 21-Day Challenge!) You worry about every little thing you eat. getty-103332848-worry-about-food-chris-ryan.jpg Always. "You cannot be a diabetic without thinking about food and how it will affect you," says Taylor, 25, from Salem, OR. "Each item of food that I put into my mouth has so much more to it than the taste. When you eat, you have questions running through your mind such as, 'How many carbs does this have?', 'Did I take enough insulin for this?', 'What if I am full but took too much insulin, do I still have to finish it?' Those are just some of the questions, and that is for every single item I eat." It used to be that people with type 1 diabetes had to check their blood glucose values at least three or four times a day. However, according to Gregory Dodell, MD, a board-certified endocrinologist at Central Park Endocrinology New York, keeping up can be lower maintenance, thanks to new technology called a continuous glucose monitor (CGM)—which is a sensor that checks glucose values consistently throughout the day and is viewed via a separate device, including an iPhone app. You constantly have to explain to people the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. shutterstock_186887918-differences-designua.jpg "It is hard havi Continue reading >>

What It’s Like To Live With Type 1 Diabetes

What It’s Like To Live With Type 1 Diabetes

What It’s Like To Live With Type 1 Diabetes By: Valeria Guerrero What’s it like? It’s pricking your finger endlessly throughout the day. It’s not being afraid of blood because you get used to seeing so much of it. It’s no longer feeling tremor to a needle because you’ve had no choice than to be poked by them every day. It’s being woken up countless times throughout the night to fix blood sugars that just won’t become stable. It’s waking up feeling hung over because your sugars were high all night no matter the amount of corrections you gave yourself. It’s not being able to eat whatever you want before carb counting and analyzing how it will affect your sugars later. It’s having to put on a fake smile every time you have to explain to someone that type 1 and type 2 diabetes are NOT the same thing. It’s not being able to go a single work out without stressing if you’re going to go too low, drop too fast or go high. It’s seeing all the scars all over our tummy, arms and legs from all the site changes and pokes and just cry. It’s people staring at you while you poke yourself and watching you like something is wrong with you. It’s people telling you “you can’ t have that” or “should you be eating that?” It’s people assuming you have type 2 when you say you have diabetes. It’s watching people look at you like you’re breaking the law by having a candy. It’s asking yourself what you did wrong because you got this disease even when they say it isn’t your fault. It’s remembering what it was like before being diagnosed and feeling nostalgic. It’s struggling with money and possibly going into debt because supplies are just so expensive. It’s wanting to cry whenever you hear a representative say “your insurance doesn’t co Continue reading >>

Diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes

Introduction Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's own immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas (called beta cells). Normally, the body's immune system fights off foreign invaders like viruses or bacteria. But for unknown reasons, in people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks various cells in the body. This results in a complete deficiency of the insulin hormone. Some people develop a type of diabetes - called secondary diabetes -- which is similar to type 1 diabetes, but the beta cells are not destroyed by the immune system but by some other factor, such as cystic fibrosis or pancreatic surgery. Understanding Insulin Normally, the hormone insulin is always secreted by the pancreas in low amounts. When you eat a meal, food stimulates an increase in the amounts of insulin released from the pancreas. The amount that is released is proportional to the amount that is required by the size of that particular meal. So what does insulin do? Insulin's main role in the body is to help move certain nutrients -- especially a sugar called glucose -- into the cells of the body's tissues. Cells use sugars and other nutrients from meals as a source of energy to run a variety of important processes for the body. When glucose is moved into cells, the amount of sugar in the blood decreases. Normally that signals the beta cells in the pancreas to stop secreting insulin so that you don't develop low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). But the destruction of the beta cells that occurs with type 1 diabetes throws the entire process into disarray. In people with type 1 diabetes, glucose isn't moved into the cells because insulin is not available. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, the body's cells starve for nutrients and othe Continue reading >>

The Difficulties Of Living With Type 1 Diabetes

The Difficulties Of Living With Type 1 Diabetes

My diseases are a part of me. Presumably just as much as my hair color and food preferences are. For some, the difficulty of health problems comes from accepting the reality that it challenges your existence; for others, it’s the financial burden. For me, it’s the upkeep. As someone who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was a whopping 4 years old, I don’t quite remember life without this condition. However, what I do remember is wondering why I needed multiple shots a day when my fellow kindergarteners didn’t. The difficulty stems from how physically demanding this disease is. I mean this in several ways. In particular, frequently fluctuating glucose levels bring you from one extreme to the other. Now, compare this to a properly working endocrine system where these possibly drastic fluctuations rarely, if at all, happen. Naturally, even tipping one way can seriously throw your mood off for the day. So, by accidentally eating too many carbs when treating a low and subsequently going high, your body becomes confused. Exhausted. It’s something that shouldn’t be happening in your body and it takes a toll. I find myself at an odd intersection of annoyance and pure exhaustion when and if my glucose levels fluctuate. The difficulty comes from the “burnout.” This is where one may become so dedicated to checking their number so many times a day, adjusting their insulin levels and being on top of this condition all the time that it wears them down. For me, that usually lasts about a week or two – sometimes a month if I’m lucky. For all you “non-betics” reading this, I like to equate this similarly to studying for a huge exam – something of MCAT proportions. You may spend weeks or months preparing for this exam, taking classes, talking to people w Continue reading >>

Fifty Years Of Living With Type 1 Diabetes

Fifty Years Of Living With Type 1 Diabetes

I have had type 1 diabetes for 50 years. Fifty years. At the time I was diagnosed, way back in 1968, I was told that I shouldn’t expect to live past the age of 35 years. Now, as I approach 58 with all my toes intact, I welcome the opportunity to look back at the decades, the changing technologies, and the many clinicians who have crossed my patient path. I was there for the replacement of porcine insulin with biosynthetic human recombinant analogs. I had one of the first portable glucose meters, which required a small suitcase to lug around. I was there when sugar stopped being the big enemy (although most of us who had had the disease for a while had figured that out long before you admitted it to us). And I’m still astonished by the difference the insulin pump made in my life. Wearing my first insulin pump almost 20 years ago allowed me the opportunity to “forget” for the first time that I was diabetic, even if only for a few hours. I was first diagnosed with diabetes during a bout of what my parents were certain was the flu. My pediatrician put me in the hospital and made the diagnosis. He was one of those pediatricians who really loves children, and he paraded me through the hospital halls on his shoulders, telling me about the disease, introducing me to the staff, and telling me how we were going to keep me healthy. The joy and the optimism he expressed made an enormous difference in how the diagnosis affected me, and as long as I live, I will never forget how fully he seemed to be in my corner. I’ll grade him on how he made me feel, so we can refer to him as “Dr. A.” Alas, I aged and eventually left my pediatrician behind. My next experience was with an endocrinologist for whom nothing I did seemed enough. I failed, and failed, and failed. My A1C res Continue reading >>

Living Longer With Diabetes: Type 1

Living Longer With Diabetes: Type 1

When you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you may wonder, “Is this going to kill me? How long can I live with this?” These are scary questions. Fortunately, the answers have gotten better. This article is about living longer with Type 1. Next week will be about Type 2. History of life with Type 1 In Type 1, the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed. Before insulin was discovered and made injectable, Type 1 diabetes usually killed children within months, or even days. The only treatment known to medicine was going on a low-carb, high-fat and -protein diet. People might live a few years that way. According to the website Defeat Diabetes, “In 1897, the average life expectancy for a 10-year-old child with diabetes was about one year. Diagnosis at age 30 carried a life expectancy of about four years. A newly diagnosed 50-year-old might live eight more years.” (Probably, those 50-year-olds really had Type 2.) In the 1920s, insulin was discovered and became available for use. Life expectancy with Type 1 went up dramatically. But when I started nursing in the 1970s, it was still common for people with Type 1 to die before age 50. With better insulins, home testing, and lower-carbohydrate diets, people live longer. A study from the University of Pittsburgh, published in 2012, found that people with Type 1 diabetes born after 1965 had a life expectancy of 69 years. This compares to a life expectancy at birth of roughly 76 years for men and 81 years for women in the general population in the U.S. A new study of about 25,000 people with Type 1 in Scotland found that men with Type 1 diabetes lose about 11 years of life expectancy, and women about 13 years compared to those without the disease. According to WebMD, “Heart disease accounted for the most lost Continue reading >>

18 Truths People With Type 1 Diabetes Wish Others Understood

18 Truths People With Type 1 Diabetes Wish Others Understood

Diabetes affects more than 29 million Americans and 380 million people worldwide. By 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that number to more than double. Diabetes takes the life of one American every three minutes, and it’s a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure and stroke. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the most common forms of the disease; type 1 is a more severe autoimmune form of diabetes that generally develops in children and teenagers and requires life-long insulin therapy, whereas type 2 typically appears during adulthood and can usually be managed through diet and exercise. Despite the large numbers above, diabetes remains a widely misunderstood disease — many do not even realize more than one type exists. The Mighty teamed up with Diabetes Research Institute to ask their community what they want others to understand about type 1 diabetes. Here’s what they had to say: 1. “It’s insulin or death. No pills, no diet, no exercise will make it go away.” —Kelly Connelly Enriquez 2. “It’s bad, but please don’t make that face and say ‘I’m sorry!’” —Dawn Melvin Bobbitt 3. “I wish people understood the difference between type 1 and type 2.” —Lisa Inglis 4. “There is nothing I or my parents could have done to avoid having to live with type 1 diabetes.” —Jalissa Gascho 5. “It takes over your life.” —Adrienne Roberts 6. “It’s very unpredictable.” —Nicole Porth 7. “Over the years, the one thing that really annoys me is when people ask ‘should you be eating that.’ If someone with diabetes is eating something, you can be sure they know what they are doing.” —Sue Langdon 8. “Appearance does not show that every week [a person with diabetes] has to endure an averag Continue reading >>

One Day In The Life Of Type 1 Diabetes

One Day In The Life Of Type 1 Diabetes

DAY 4161 Living with Diabetes As I sit up in bed, my head spins. It’s 7 a.m. I’m shaking, sweating and scared. It’s only then I realize that I missed dinner last night. I know that my blood sugar is dangerously low. I also know that apart from my 13-year-old sister, I’m home alone. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a muesli bar sticking out of my handbag. I try to get out of bed and reach for it, in an attempt to bring my blood-sugar up. That’s the last thing I can remember. My name is Shelby. I’m your average 21-year-old, aside from the fact that I have had Type 1 diabetes since I was 9. One morning in January of 2014, my blood sugar dropped so low that I had a seizure and knocked myself unconscious after hitting the back of my head on my bed frame. It was the first time that an ambulance had ever been called for me. Apart from this instance, I have had several serious hypoglycemic episodes — I’ve had a seizure whilst on camp visiting a crocodile farm, I’ve smashed drinking glasses in my hands in an attempt to fix my blood sugar and I’ve buttered my hands whilst trying to make myself a sandwich. If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m extremely stubborn and independent. I don’t like asking for help; however, it’s because of my diabetes that I have had to learn how to ask for such. Diabetes is debilitating. Diabetes is devastating. Diabetes is draining. We’re allowed to have good days and bad days; just like everyone else. We just need to be prepared. Even on our bad days, we are still diabetics. We still have to stop and test our blood sugars and give insulin. We have highs (fun fact: we don’t understand how odd it sounds to others when we’re in public and say, “I think I’m high”) and then we also have lows (literally). Our blood Continue reading >>

What It's Really Like To Live With Type 1 Diabetes

What It's Really Like To Live With Type 1 Diabetes

What It's Really Like To Live With Type 1 Diabetes Robert Locke MBE is a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement, ADHD, parenting, mental health, and children's literature. Full Bio We all need glucose to give our cells the energy they require to function so that the brain, heart, and lungs all work perfectly. Our bodies will manufacture enough insulin (produced by the pancreas) so that the blood glucose or blood sugar can get into those cells. But people with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) cannot make that insulin, so they have to inject it to help the body work properly. But it does not always go according to plan. When they have too much glucose or too little, there are serious health consequences.We all need glucose to give our cells the energy they require to function so that the brain, heart, and lungs all work perfectly. Our bodies will manufacture enough insulin (produced by the pancreas) so that the blood glucose or blood sugar can get into those cells. But people with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) cannot make that insulin, so they have to inject it to help the body work properly. But it does not always go according to plan. When they have too much glucose or too little, there are serious health consequences. I remember vividly when we had friends over forlunch on a very hot summers day. One of them has Type 1 diabetes and he had just been given a new, cutting edge insulin pump. But the pump was not correctly adjusted. He nearly collapsed on the way home andfortunately, his wife was driving. She later told me that he could have died. The irony is that he is a doctor himself! Let me explain what an insulin pump does. First, it removes the need to have multiple injections of insulin on a daily basis. Second, it has to work perfectly because in many ways Continue reading >>

People With Type 1 Diabetes Are Living Longer

People With Type 1 Diabetes Are Living Longer

Better blood sugar control may be the key to longer survival Ninety years ago, type 1 diabetes was a death sentence: half of people who developed it died within two years; more than 90% were dead within five years. Thanks to the introduction of insulin therapy in 1922, and numerous advances since then, many people with type 1 diabetes now live into their 50s and beyond. But survival in this group still falls short of that among people without diabetes. A Scottish study published this week in JAMA shows that at the age of 20, individuals with type 1 diabetes on average lived 12 fewer years than 20-year-olds without it. A second study in the same issue of JAMA showed that people with type 1 diabetes with better blood sugar control lived longer than those with poorer blood sugar control. Types of diabetes There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas that make insulin. This usually happens before age 20. Insulin is needed to get blood sugar (glucose) into cells for energy. Without insulin, glucose builds up in the bloodstream. This damages cells and tissues throughout the body. People who develop type 1 diabetes need to take insulin via shots or a pump for life. Type 2 diabetes tends to occur later in life, usually among individuals who are overweight or inactive. It accounts for about 90% of all diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes often make enough insulin, at least at first, but their cells don’t respond to it. As with type 1 diabetes, glucose builds up in the bloodstream, damaging cells and tissues throughout the body. Type 2 diabetes is initially treated with lifestyle changes such as weight loss, more exercise, and a healthier diet. Medications that make the Continue reading >>

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