Type 1 Diabetes
By: Elli Kirkbride
I woke up in a small hospital room with those fluorescent lights shining in my face and doctors everywhere. I wasn't tired, but I was really confused. Where were my parents? Where was I? "Mommy...", I shouted out into the darkness. "Elli?! Is that you?! Adam, wake up! She's awake!" That was the night that I found out I had a disease. I had been in a diabetic coma for two days, and I had Type 1 Diabetes. This Tackk will be about Type 1 Diabetes. It will teach you about what diabetes is, getting diagnosed, high and low blood sugars, and living with diabetes. Diabetes matters and is a serious disease because you can die if left untreated. We can all help find a cure. If you or a loved one thinks they have this disease, consult a doctor immediately. So lets keep learning!
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
So you are probably wondering right now, "what is diabetes?" Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic disease, meaning lifelong. It is NOT CONTAGIOUS! Some people get it from their genes. Not the pants, but the things you get from your family. It's like when someone says, "you have your dads eyes" or "you have your moms nose". But some people get it, and just them. Diabetes can be controlled, but not cured. Scientists are looking for a cure. Diabetes is also a metabolic disease that causes high levels of sugar in the blood. Whites (Caucasians), have a higher risk of getting diabetes due to difference in genes & environments.
So you kind of know the story of my diagnosis. My diabetes was untreated for an extended amount of time, and I went into a diabetic coma. I was not dead, but I was unconscious. Why did my body go into a coma? Why was my blood sugar so high? Because my body was left untreated, ( unknowingly ), and so an autoimmune reaction caused my immune system to attack the cells on my pancreas that make insulin. Those cells are called beta cells. Insulin is a hormone that turns the sugar in your blood into energy. My body doesn't make that. There is though, another way to get it. We will talk about that soon. When you don't have insulin, your body goes into shutdown mode. You go into DKA. Diabetic ketoacidosis.
High & Low Blood Sugars
So, what is/are a blood sugar? Your blood sugar levels tell you the amount of sugar in your blood. Normal blood sugars 2 hours after you eat, should be around 140. Before you eat, it should be 70 to 99. Everyone has a somewhat different blood sugar range. My range is 70 to 140. Under 70 is "low", and over 140 is "high". When you are low, you eat or drink 15 grams of carbohydrates. You can tell when you are low by feeling. You feel dizzy, weak, tired, lazy, ect. Sometimes when you are high you feel the same way. Then, after 15 minutes you check your blood sugar again, to see if it has gone up. If not, more juice! When you eat, you have to take insulin, or dose. You have a ratio of how many carbohydrates are in 1 unit. It changes for every meal. You use this ratio to determine how much insulin you need to dose, for each meal. A carbohydrate is something that is in most foods. Meat, cheese, pickles, and mustard are some things that have zero carbohydrates.
Living With Diabetes
Like I said earlier, diabetes is a disease that can be controlled. And there is another way to get insulin. When you are first diagnosed, you take insulin shots. As you get farther into your disease, you get something called an insulin pump. You have a needle in your body called a site or infusion set. It is connected to a tube, and that tube is connected to the pump. You change your site every three days. There are many types of pumps. The newest and one I own is the Tandem pump. There is also the OmniPod, the Accu-Check, the Snap, the Animas Vibe, and the Medtronic pumps. There is also a variety of sites. There is the Contact Detach the one I use, the Quick-Set, the Mio, the Silhouette, the Sure-fit and many more. You need to take very good care of your site or it might rip out.
Diabetes may be a disease, but it is controllable. A diagnosis of diabetes does not mean your life is over. It may be frustrating, but you can do it! You can still eat anything you want. You can still drink any carb-free drinks, and eat treats! Power through it! It changes your life, and you. You can also participate in diabetes walks for a cure, camp, and other fun activities. So, now you know what diabetes is, and you will be prepared if you get it! And remember, don't sweat it! Everything will turn out fine! Thank you!