Though I don’t personally have diabetes, I have lived with its effects for more than sixteen years of my life. My brother was diagnosed when he was 16, my son at 17.
Type 1 diabetes, previously referred to as juvenile diabetes, is typically diagnosed in children and young adults. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) only 5% of people with diabetes have this form. The other 95% have type 2 diabetes, sometimes referred to as adult onset diabetes. Over twenty-five million people–children and adults–in the US have diabetes, seven million of whom, according to the ADA, have not been diagnosed.
There are notable differences between the two–type 1 requires insulin therapy to manage the condition, whereas type 2 can often be controlled with diet alone.
Back in the early 80’s (yes, I’m dating myself a bit), diabetes care was far less advanced than it is today. My brother took two shots a day, hoping that he wasn’t eating too much sugar or not enough. There were many instances when he was hospitalized due to this disease. He even had diabetic comas while in the hospital. His diabetes was defined as uncontrollable. I believe, however, that if he lived today, he would have lived a much more fulfilling life.
Today, my son, and many others like him, can check their blood sugar with a glucose monitor. When he was first diagnosed, he had to give himself a shot four times a day–once after each meal, and then once before bed. He has since transferred to a pump, which feeds small amounts of insulin into his system continuously through a tube and small needle. It sounds painful, but much less so than four shots a day. 🙂
Diabetes is not contagious in any way. According to the ADA, “type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.” Since several of my mother’s siblings had diabetes type 1, and my father was diagnosed with type 2, my son inherited his predisposition from me.
If you know of people in your family with diabetes, you can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by eating healthy, and increasing your level of physical activity.
I’ll end with a list of symptoms, as listed at www.diabetes.org (the official ADA site).
Type 1 Diabetes
- Frequent urination
- Unusual thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Unusual weight loss
- Extreme fatigue and Irritability
Type 2 Diabetes
- Any of the type 1 symptoms
- Frequent infections
- Blurred vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
- Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
If you have one or more of these diabetes symptoms, see your doctor right away.
PLEASE, if you suffer from any of these symptoms for the sake of your life, see your doctor. For more information about diabetes please visit the American Diabetes Assocation’s website.
My brother didn’t have the medical advantages available today, and because of that he lost his life due to complications brought on by diabetes. It can kill you if not taken seriously.