Type 1 Diabetes: What You Need to Know

Type 1 Diabetes: What You Need to Know


Do you know me? Maybe you recognize me? Chances are you’ve probably seen me around
the halls at school, in classes, or on the tennis court. From the outside we look like every other
kid you know. I Bollywood dance and Charli does gymnastics
just like other kids. But on the inside…we have type 1 diabetes. Diabetes is not contagious, so you can’t
catch it from me when we sit next to one another at lunch! In fact, no one really knows why some kids
get it and some kids don’t. So far, there is not cure, but we can spot
the symptoms and when diagnosed, type 1 diabetes is manageable. Having good management will help keep me healthy
and strong. Just like you! So, I bet you’re curious, what is type 1
diabetes? An organ in your body called the pancreas
produces an important hormone called insulin. Insulin is what turns the foods you eat into
energy. And we all know how important energy is to
kids. But my body doesn’t make any insulin, so
when I eat, the sugar in my blood never turns into energy. The blood sugar levels just get higher and
higher with no place to go. If left untreated, my blood sugar levels would
go through the roof, putting me at risk for organ damage. To my heart, liver, kidneys, and even my eyes. But don’t worry, luckily there are ways
I can add insulin to my body and keep my blood sugar levels within my target range. Just like YOURS Throughout the day I check my blood sugar
levels. There are two ways to check blood sugar. Some kids use a glucose meter and others use
a CGM. You may see me checking my blood sugar in
the classroom, before I eat, or begin any kind of physical exercise. Keeping blood sugars within range for someone
with type 1 is very important. Each person has a set target range. Once I know what my blood sugar levels are,
I can determine how much insulin I need to give. Kids with type 1 diabetes, give insulin shots
several times a day or use a device called an insulin pump. You’ll see me give myself insulin before
meals and to correct when I’m above my blood sugar range. I use multiple daily injections through an
insulin pen or syringe. It hurts a little, but I’m used to it. I use a pump and I wear it on my belt or put
it in my pocket. There are many models out there and might
look like cell phones. Other use a patch pump where a pod-like device
holds the insulin and using Bluetooth talks to a device. The pump gives me a small steady dose of insulin
through a small plastic tube inserted into my skin. When I eat, I just push this button and it
gives me an extra amount of insulin. Sounds simple, right? Not really.…I’m a kid, not a scientist. Figuring out how much insulin I need depends
on math and a lot of other factors that my diabetes healthcare team figures out for me. They include:How much I exercise, What I
eat , My blood sugar level, My stress level, If I feel like I’m getting sick or have
an infection..Even how I am growing! When I play tennis, I check my blood sugar before, during and after the match. I love to have a sleepover, but I have to
be careful when I’m playing and having fun that my blood sugars drop too low. I need to have snacks ready. It takes a lot of hard work to keep my blood
sugars in the target range. I can do everything my doctors and parents
tell me to do but sometimes it still goes too high or low. It’s not my fault. There are basically two different problems
I face with keeping my blood sugar within range. The first is if my levels become too high. I may need your help. A few of the most common symptoms that tell
you my blood sugar levels are too high are thirst, inability to concentrate, frequent
urination, and/or blurry vision. High blood sugar level in the short term won’t
put me in danger right away. So, if you see these warning signs…don’t
panic. But if my blood sugar is high over an extended
amount of time then we’ve got a big problem. If you recognize the signs of high blood sugar
and we’ve confirmed it’s high by checking with my glucose monitor and/or my CGM give
me water or a sugar free drink. Continue to monitor my blood sugar levels
and keep me from engaging in physical activity. If my blood sugar levels are extremely high,
immediately call my caregivers or physician. Additional insulin should only be given if
specifically instructed to do so. The other problem I can have is if my blood
sugar drops too low. This is much more dangerous because I can
get confused and I can become severely low very quickly. If this happens, I face unconsciousness and
I won’t be able to raise my blood sugar level by myself. I will need immediate help! Here are some symptoms to look for if you
think my blood sugars may be going low: shakiness, sweating, irritability, and drowsiness. The most severe symptoms of low blood sugar
levels are: convulsions, seizures, and unconsciousness. If I do become unconscious, immediately give
me an emergency does of glucagon and then call 911! Low blood sugar levels are considered anything
below 70. In this range, some kids will start to show
symptoms, while others may still feel perfectly normal. Take action on the readings and not just on
how I may or may not be acting. If you suspect I might be experiencing low
blood sugar levels or if I tell you I don’t feel well help me treat my low blood sugar
with fast acting sugar. If I need to go to the nurses’ office after
I treat my low, have someone accompany me. That way everybody knows I’m safe. There really are so many reason why blood
sugar fluctuates. I do my best to avoid this but sometimes it
just happens. If I’m experiencing a low or a high blood
sugar, I’m really not feeling like myself, and it affects my ability to think properly. It requires time to come back into range and
I may need to reschedule a test or finish an assignment. By reviewing the signs and symptoms of these
regularly and how to treat these, you can prepare yourself in case of an emergency. We’re regular kids, we just have type 1
diabetes. So don’t be afraid Learn all you can and smile at me next time you see me because
I’m just like you If you have specific questions about a child
in your care contact the relevant diabetes provider and go to the JDRF website

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