Help Our Editor and Other Kids With Diabetes
When she was 18 months old, our resident slide editor, Willow, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It happened with no warning or family history of the condition. She was admitted to the hospital and we soon learned about dispensing insulin and it’s correlation to each piece of food she eats.
Willow’s doing very well now and we’re of course hoping for a cure. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundationaccepts donations of varying types and I would urge you to donate your old car or toss them a couple dollars if you can. It’s money that would be put to very good use and could really improve the lives of many children like Willow and their families. You should also note that any donations to the JDRF are tax deductible if you live in the United States.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Some of the text below is from the JDRF site. They have described a very complicated condition in some simple terms that will dispell some common mis-understandings about Type 1 Diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes strikes children suddenly, makes them dependent on injected or pumped insulin for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications. While diagnosis most often occurs in childhood and adolescence, it can and does strike adults as well. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. While the causes of this process are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved.
- As many as 3 million Americans may have type 1 diabetes.
- Each year over 13,000 children are diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. That’s 35 children each and every day.
- Warning signs of type 1 diabetes include: extreme thirst, frequent urination, drowsiness or lethargy, increased appetite, sudden weight loss for no reason, sudden vision changes, sugar in urine, fruity odor on breath, heavy or labored breathing, stupor or unconsciousness. These may occur suddenly.
Is it a Long Term Condition?
To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes must take multiple insulin injections daily or continually infuse insulin through a pump, and test their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times per day. While trying to balance insulin doses with their food intake and daily activities, people with this form of diabetes must always be prepared for serious hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions, both of which can be life-limiting and life threatening.
Doesn’t Insulin Make Things Easy?
Despite rigorous attention to maintaining a meal plan and exercise regimen, and always injecting the proper amount of insulin, many other factors can adversely affect efforts to tightly control blood-sugar levels including: stress, hormonal changes, periods of growth, physical activity, medications, illness/infection, and fatigue.