In life comes maturity, with maturity comes knowledge, with knowledge comes understanding and with understanding comes wisdom. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s work place, family life, friends or with this, a disease, if we don’t have the steps listed above, we will struggle and have difficult times. My daughter, Tami, has had to deal with this disease since she was 6 years old. This is her story and written by her.
What is Diabetes? A syndrome characterized by impaired insulin production. It is classified in 3 groups.
- Type 1, Juvenile, IDDM–Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus to be scientific. This is characterized by an abrupt onset of symptoms (excessive thirst, urination, lethargy) in childhood. People with this type of Diabetes have a pancreas that produces very little or no insulin and must take insulin injections or use an insulin pump to survive/live.
- Type 2, Adult onset, NIDDM–Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus to be scientific. This form of Diabetes is often seen in adults who have a family history of Diabetes, are over the age of 45, are overweight and still have a pancreas producing some insulin. This type of Diabetes is often able to be controlled through diet, exercise, oral medication and sometimes insulin injections.
- Gestation Diabetes–Diagnosed in pregnant women, typically around the 24th week, who have high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. These women typically have never had Diabetes and it resolves once the birth of the baby occurs.
- Whether you have type 1 or type 2, you have a lifetime commitment of monitoring blood sugars, what you eat, how much exercise you do, even down to your work and sleeping habits. This is a serious disease, it is a life long, life changing disease. It can take your eyesight, cause kidney failure/dialysis, stop your ability to feel pain (Neuropathy), cause cardiovascular/heart disease and increase the risk of stroke. In the past 20 years alone I have given myself approximately 29,000 injections, over 40,000 finger sticks to check my blood sugar as a type 1 Diabetic since age 6. In the 40 years of being a Diabetic, that will amount to over 50,000 shots, 100,000 finger sticks, and let’s not forget about the medication costs, Doctor visits and the visits to the ER.
- You think you feel fine and do not need to monitor your sugars or watch what you eat, that the complications will not affect you. Think again!! Ask the non-compliant type 2 Diabetic who lost his lower leg due to a foot ulcer, the same person who is now on dialysis 3 days a week for 4 hours a time, the person who now wishes they would have listened long ago and taken the disease seriously. Ask the spouse who lives with him how this affects her, changed their life, helped her be more in control of her Diabetes. Ask the family members how this has changed their lives, the worry they have and what will that next call be.
- Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. It causes more deaths that Breast Cancer and Aids combined. Don’t become another statistic!! Control your blood sugar, exercise, eat right, take your medication(s) and follow up regularly with your health care providers. Don’t let this disease control you–you control it!! By you taking control, you will reduce the risk of lifelong serious complications and life changing diseases.