Tough on young diabetics
I am writing in response to an article in last week’s Morgan Messenger entitled “November is Diabetes Awareness Month.”
I appreciate your efforts at educating your readers in the enormity of the diabetes epidemic facing the nation. I believe it is important to differentiate between Type 1 Diabetes (formerly called Juvenile diabetes) and Type 2 Diabetes (formerly called adult-onset diabetes).
The article gave great advice for Type 2 Diabetics, and all of us for the matter — eat right, maintain healthy weight, exercise, etc.
Type 1 Diabetes, however is an auto-immune disorder, usually genetic, that affects most young adults and children through no fault of their own. These Type 1 Diabetics (T1D) must take injections or pump human insulin (which is not available in pill form) for control.
I am the mother of a 17-year-old T1D who was diagnosed in March after a two week bout of the flu. Instead of his body attacking the flu virus, it attacked his pancreas and thyroid. Since March 9, he checks his blood sugars at least four times a day, sometimes up to nine times a day through finger sticks, and takes four injections of insulin a day. He has bruises on his arms, belly and thighs (injection sites) and runs out of fingers to check his glucose on due to soreness.
At a conference we attended in Orlando over the summer for “Children with Diabetes,” we saw babies as young as 18 months old wearing insulin pumps, and children of all ages having to stop playing to check their glucose levels. It was actually awesome being there because the T1D’s were “normal” around the 1,800 other T1D’s all poking their fingers for the latest glucose check, giving themselves injections or “blousing” for that chocolate chip cookie all kids love.
In our small town, I know of numerous young people who deal with this disease every day! They are the children in our schools, they play sports, make honor roll, etc. all of which affects their glucose levels which then require some sort of treatment. I applaud those who have this challenge.