I Know…This Has Nothing to do With Real Estate
Although this is a residential real estate website and blog page, I wanted to use my platform to advocate for the education and support for the Diabetes Community. I am the father of a Type 1 Diabetic and I am also the brother of a Type 1 Diabetic. There are many misconceptions about this disease, so hopefully the information below will help you understand.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. It affects over 8 million people in the world and close to 2 million people in the United States. Type 1 Diabetes is caused when the pancreas no longer creates insulin. Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose throughout your body. It’s like a key that opens doors to cells in your body to create energy. If insulin is not created, your glucose (blood sugar levels) will get very high. This can lead to hyperglycemia….high blood sugar. Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar…..this can happen when too much insulin is given, accompanied with not eating enough carbs to correct the blood sugar. This is why you may see a diabetic drinking apple juice to boost their blood sugar if they are low.
As you can see, it can be a roller coaster of ups and downs trying to regulate blood sugars. Fortunately, over the past two decades there have been a number of new medical devices created to make it easier for controlling blood sugars.
*just an aside…Type 2 Diabetes is a whole other ballgame. This is where the pancreas still makes insulin, but the body doesn’t know what to do with it…look into this; it’s interesting as well.
Controlling Blood Sugars
When I was growing up my younger brother was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I remember him having to prick his finger to measure his blood sugar and immediately having to take an insulin shot with a syringe to lower his blood sugar OR eating something with carbs and sugar to raise his blood sugar. He would check his glucose levels every hour or more.
Fortunately, with new discoveries, my brother and my daughter now have medical devices that make this a much less cumbersome and more convenient way of not only checking blood sugars, but injecting insulin.
My daughter has a CGM (continuos glucose monitor). Hers is made by Dexcom. This is a small device that sticks on her arm/leg/belly and has a small needle that has a sensor to measure blood sugars. This reading goes to her phone…and my phone…and my wife’s phone, so we all know her blood sugar/glucose levels. Instead of giving insulin injections, she wears a pump. The pump she uses is an Omnipod. It is another device that sticks on an arm/leg/belly, and delivers insulin on demand. There is a device she uses to tell the Omnipod how much insulin to deliver. In a few months she will be able to do this from her iPhone. These two devices make it much easier than it used to be.
Education on Type 1 Diabetes
Advocacy and awareness are huge tools in in the diabetes world. There is simply not enough education or awareness being promoted in health classes, schools in general, and I hate to say it; in medical schools. My daughter unfortunately had another health issue that required a total of 6 surgeries. During hospital stays we as parents, were explaining to the doctors on what to do in certain scenarios. Most doctors did not know what the devices did. This is not a knock on the doctors, this is a knock on the medical industry as a whole in how they lack in educating medical students about diabetes, unless their discipline is within Endocrinology. My brother had an unrelated diabetes surgery, but he too, had to educate the surgeons on what to do in certain situations.
For almost a whole year I petitioned insurance companies, politicians, medical professionals, THE MEDIA….pretty much anyone I had a phone number or email for to MAKE FINGER STICKS AT PHYSICALS FOR CHILDREN MANDATORY. No one would listen. I had one response from a Senator’s office, basically saying they couldn’t help, but at least they responded. The issue is insurance companies do not want to pay for a finger stick… taking a little drop of blood to measure the child’s blood sugar. Seriously, how much would this cost insurance companies? A glucose meter is very inexpensive at any pharmacy.
This is important because early detection can prevent major health issues not only in children, but anyone that has Type 1 Diabetes and does not know it yet. This was the case in my daughter’s diagnosis.
The symptoms to look for are; frequent urination, extreme thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Also, blurry vision, cuts not healing quickly, and weight loss.
Fortunately, you can live a normal life with Type 1 Diabetes with access to healthcare, insulin, a healthy diet, and management of blood sugar/glucose levels. There are more people than you know that have Type 1; celebrities, athletes, and everyday people you pass on the street. It is so well managed now you will not know unless you see them wearing a device or injecting insulin/finger sticking. Though this is very good news, a cure would be more than GREAT.
As I type, there are several clinical trials going on for a cure of Type 1 Diabetes. Every year they say they are close and I honestly don’t know who or what to believe, but with new technologies being discovered daily, my hopes are it will be soon. Just read this one story of Brian Shelton.
If you have read this far, I appreciate it. When I was growing up I didn’t really understand what my brother was going through and I certainly didn’t understand what my parents were going through. So, if you are reading this, please try to make an effort to promote an awareness of Type 1 Diabetes, the risks associated with it, and the daily impact it has on those who live with it.
The picture up top is of my daughter and me. She is one tough cookie and has been through a lot in her 16 years. Next time you see anyone with this device…..maybe just give them a fist bump and say “I am proud of you”.