Happy National Diabetes Awareness month! As a person who lives with type 1 diabetes, I always enjoy educating and bringing awareness to a disease that impacts so many. In the US alone, more than 34 million people live with diabetes. About 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. The remaining numbers account for those with type 1 diabetes.
TYPE 1 DIABETES:
- Auto-immune disease
- Occurs more commonly in pediatrics, but can onset at any age even into adulthood
- (I was 28!!)
- Insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system… Why the attack occurs isn’t fully understood, but genetic and environmental factors may play a part
- Those with type 1 are fully insulin dependent, it is non-reversible
- Insulin is administered via injections or an insulin pump
- I have used a pump for almost 2 years now. I currently have a Medtronic 770G.
- In the U.S. there are $16 billion in T1D-associated healthcare expenditures and lost income annually. (ADA 2018. Diab Care 41: 917-928)
TYPE 2 DIABETES:
- The most common form of diabetes
- Impaired regulation and use of glucose in the body. Cells become insensitive to the insulin produced by the body which causes glucose to remain in the bloodstream rather than being used by cells, causing blood sugars to rise.
- Occurs more commonly in adults, but can be found in children.
- Diet, lifestyle/exercise can help manage type 2 diabetes, in some cases medication may be needed
- According to the ADA, the estimated total economic cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 was $327 billion.
The journey of living with diabetes is different for everyone. Ironically, I have a few dear friends that were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes somewhat later in life just like me. As I reflected on my journey, I thought I would bring them in to share some of their experiences, both positive and negative. I love what they had to share:
Frustrations I Feel:
- A+B doesn’t always equal C. Sometimes my sugars don’t make sense, and while it’s helpful to reflect in order to improve control, I can drive myself crazy trying to make sense of it all. Learning to trust the process and maintain perspective is key.
- Diabetic technology is great and only getting better, but it’s still not flawless. I have experienced pump failures where my pump is not working properly or my CGM will experience a random problem and won’t give me accurate readings for a period of time. It is easy to get frustrated when I have a day of poor glucose readings due to one of these things. Although at times frustrating, I am so grateful for both of these things and how they improve my health and quality of life.
- One of the biggest misconceptions is that immaculate management will come by simply eating “right”. There are multiple factors that play into maintaining stable blood sugar levels, that go beyond diet.
Lessons I’ve Learned:
- This condition impacts more people than I ever knew. Since living with diabetes, I take notice of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors on people frequently. These are things I would never have noticed before.
- I don’t need to be embarrassed of living with type 1 diabetes. The Lord has refined me in this way and stripped me of my pride. At first I wanted to hide the fact that I had diabetes from people, but learned there is no point or purpose in that.
- Diabetes has taught me to be thankful for the good days— the days where the highs, lows and alarms are at a minimum.
- Type 1 has taught me the significance of consistency. When I am in control of what I can control, it’s easier to adjust to the inevitable high or low.
If you live with diabetes, or are the friend/family/caregiver for a person with diabetes, you are not alone! We would love to hear from you on frustrations you might feel and the lessons you have learned along the way!
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