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What Is It Like To Live With Type 1 Diabetes

What Does It Feel Like To Grow Up With Type 1 Diabetes? What Are The Biggest Challenges, And What Sorts Of Things Make It Easier To Live With?

What Does It Feel Like To Grow Up With Type 1 Diabetes? What Are The Biggest Challenges, And What Sorts Of Things Make It Easier To Live With?

I have had Type 1 diabetes since I was 15 years old. Interestingly my high school years were the easiest years for me in terms of diabetes management/coping with the disease, being an undergraduate and to a lesser extent a graduate student were both much more challenging, for reasons which I will mention later in my answer. Challenge 1: Learning the basic rules for managing diabetes, especially carb counting (figuring out what is in the food you are eating) and how to deal with factors like exercise, sickness, and stress. To manage diabetes successfully you have to imitate your own pancreas, and do so with tools that are inferior to a pancreas. It is easy to learn the very basics, but to achieve a high quality of life and have good control so that you have good health later you need to know how to deal with all the subtleties. The body is incredibly complicated and the blood sugar/insulin/pancreas system is no exception. Challenge 2: Being disciplined and careful after some of the things from challenge 1 have become second nature. Once you learn the basics it is easy to stop learning and just coast. It is also easy to get lazy once you have internalized things. It can be very tough to convince children to pay more attention to these things, especially since the consequences of failure don't seem that important to you. Challenge 3: Being disciplined when you are extremely busy and have lots of stress. This was by far the hardest thing for me, but only became a problem when I was a college student. This is a disease where a single mistake can be fatal and it is much easier to make mistakes when you have a lot of things going on, and I think that this is by far the toughest challenge that diabetes has presented to me (and that I think diabetes can present in terms of manag 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 >>

A Day In The Life Of Type 1 Diabetes

A Day In The Life Of Type 1 Diabetes

Unless you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, it’s hard to imagine the daily vigilance that is required to manage the disease. In the first installment of a new New York Times video series, you can get a glimpse of a day with Type 1 through the experiences of teenager Dominique Corozzo. The 16-year-old has been adjusting to living with Type 1 diabetes and discusses the challenges of her diagnosis and how she copes every day with the disease. For more information about research trials involving Type 1 diabetes, go to the National Institutes of Health TrialNet website. For more information about the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, featured in the video, go to www.nbdiabetes.org. 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 >>

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

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

Diabetes Forum The Global Diabetes Community Find support, ask questions and share your experiences. Join the community explaining what it's really like to live with Type 1 I am hoping that the fabulous community here will post replies on this thread about the subject in the title. or possibly provide links to people's blogs on the subject , or even copy a link to an old topic that covers this area this topic could then hopefully be something that could be shown to gather support from family members, it could be helpful to newly diagnosed families as well as families with a D peep going through issues at the present time. thanks so much for reading and for posting if you are able. Bluemarine Josephine Type 1 Well-Known Member Good morning my beautiful friend! I hope that you are very well today! You do know that I am going to write a whole thesis on this topic... I can visualize the full 150 pages dissertation project already... Being type 1 diabetes for 13 years,I have always managed my insulin around my job as a security guard.i take novorapid during the day and lantus at night,and still go out at the weekend.the point I am making is life does not stop because of being diabetic Sent from my SM-A300FU using Diabetes.co.uk Forum mobile app Here's my overview: Plenty of other posts on my blog too (in particular my "Type 1 Diabetes and Me" series). Can't contribute as aT2 - but a lovely idea Currently, life as a type 1 for me is scanning my arm with my Libre every half hour or so and taking a series of small injections (typically around 10 a day at present) through the day. Injections and Libre scanning is the relatively easy part. Needing to sometimes wait to eat until your sugar comes down so that you don't spike your sugar levels super-high from an already high level 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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

Living And Thriving With Type 1 Diabetes

Living And Thriving With Type 1 Diabetes

You might have type 1 diabetes, but diabetes doesn’t have to control your life. Living well and thriving with type 1 diabetes is possible. Whether you’re struggling with your busy Monday mornings or you’re dreaming of a weekend getaway, type 1 diabetes shouldn’t hold you back. Follow these simple, practical steps for living life with diabetes to the fullest. Managing type 1 diabetes can sometimes feel like a burden. So it’s important to stay motivated to take good care of yourself. When you start to feel overwhelmed, it can help to think of a good reason to stay motivated. Some examples might be “I want to stay healthy for my kids” or “I want to manage my diabetes well so that I’ll be healthy when I’m older.” On these harder days, remind yourself of your reason for staying motivated. Keep your reason on a sticky note and keep it in your purse, wallet, or smartphone for a quick pick-me-up. If you’d like to manage your diabetes better and have an easier Monday morning, get organized. You can try making diabetes kits with insulin, syringes, snacks, glucose testing supplies, and anything else you might need to manage your diabetes. Stash a few kits around the house, in your car, and in your purse, gym bag, or briefcase. You’ll save time when you don’t have to search for the supplies you need. If you often have trouble remembering to take medications, try using a pill box or keeping prescriptions by your toothbrush. You should also have the name and contact information for each member of your diabetes treatment team easily available, such as on the fridge or in your wallet. Following a nutritious diet is one of the most important things you can do to manage type 1 diabetes. Sticking to your healthy eating plan isn’t always easy, but preparation Continue reading >>

People In The Know: Whats It Like Having Type 1 Diabetes?

People In The Know: Whats It Like Having Type 1 Diabetes?

Brought to you by Lilly Diabetes | Disney People in the Know: Whats It Like Having Type 1 Diabetes? Q: We think were doing a good job helping our son cope with his diagnosis, but the truth is, we cant really know what its like for him. What do kids with type 1 diabetes wish their parents knew about what theyre going through? A: Having parents who want to understand things from their perspective is something almost every kid wishes for, so if it helps, you can probably consider yourselves a little ahead of the game on this one. As someone diagnosed with type 1 when I was 8, I can tell you that I would want my parents to know, first of all, how much I appreciated the hard work they put into keeping me healthy and keeping diabetes as well-managed as they could. Even though I could not verbalize this gratitude at the time, in those moments when I was resistant to their efforts and grumpy about having diabetes, it deeply helped to know that they never wavered in their efforts to keep me safe. With that said, however, most kids with type 1 (and Im including myself here, though Im now an adult) want their parents to understand that sometimes we just want to eat a doughnut, even though we know it will probably make our blood sugars go berserk. And sometimes we just want to throw our arms up in the air and scream because were so frustrated with this disease and how trapped, consumed, and held back we can feel as we strive to maintain perfect blood sugar. Sometimes we need a break from all the rules of diabetes, and a good vent may be the fastest way to get us mentally back on track in those moments. Please give us the space to do this. Another piece of the puzzle for parents to understand is that highs and lows arent things to label as bad. Lets view blood sugar as data and not Continue reading >>

What It Feels Like To Live With Diabetes

What It Feels Like To Live With Diabetes

Diabetes is often perceived as a self-inflicted disease. Assuming it’s someone who brought it upon themselves by poor eating and lack of exercise. It’s commonly joked about and mocked in conversation with reference to body image and sugary foods. With so many misconceptions and negative stereotypes, it causes this disease to be greatly overlooked. For those battling to feel misunderstood and deferred. From the outside looking in, it may seem that insulin is the solution—however it’s not. That maybe if I changed my diet all my problems would be solved—unfortunately that’s not the case either. There’s no prevention and no cure. To be honest, I had no idea that I would get sick one day and never get better. That my pancreas would stop working. An organ that I didn’t know existed prior to diagnosis and how important it actually is. That I would have to work at this every day—whether I like it or not. By testing my blood sugar, taking insulin injections, and balancing what I eat. Some would say “that seems tough” or “I could never do that“. If they only knew that diabetes is much more than that. Diabetes is much more than what managing it looks like on the outside. There’s a lot of emotion that goes into it. A lot of thinking, a lot of worrying, a lot of distress. If only they really knew what living with diabetes feels like: It’s that dry, fruity breath and taste in your mouth. Where nothing can quench your thirst. The brain fog where you feel out of tune with your own body. The pain or burning sensation when taking insulin to keep us alive. Constantly feeling like a pincushion. Having scars left that mimic battle wounds. That are placed on the most insecure parts of your body. The dazed, confused feeling of where am I and how did I get here. T Continue reading >>

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