Lessons from my 10 year old patient; Type 1 Diabetes

My patient last week was a beautiful 10 years old girl; newly diagnosed with diabetes type 1.

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. We still do not know what causes this auto-immune reaction. Type 1 diabetes is not linked to modifiable lifestyle factors

A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes means your pancreas is no longer capable of producing insulin. Through multiple daily injections with insulin pens or syringes or an insulin pump, it will be up to you to monitor your blood glucose levels and appropriately administer your insulin.

Nutrition is one of the most important pieces of the diabetes puzzle. Understanding how different foods affect your blood glucose and learning to develop solid meal plans will be a crucial part of your daily routine.

When my patient came to me, she didn’t know where to start; she had not accepted the diagnosis although she was already on insulin. Emotional support becomes key in diabetes care. It is highly encourage to Connect with other people living with diabetes that understand the daily grind of being aware of what carbohydrates spike your blood sugar, testing blood glucose multiple times each day and dealing with the various highs and lows (both physical and emotional) of life with diabetes can make all the difference.

Symptoms

  • Being excessively thirsty
  • Passing more urine
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Having cuts that heal slowly
  • Itching, skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Leg cramps.

These symptoms may occur suddenly. If they occur, see a doctor. Through a simple test, a doctor can find out if they’re the result of type 1 diabetes.

Management, care and treatment

Type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin injections several times a day or the use of an insulin pump. While your lifestyle choices didn’t cause type 1 diabetes, the choices you make now can reduce the impact of diabetes-related complications including kidney disease, limb amputation and blindness.

The single best advice for managing blood sugar is choosing to eat smart carbs! Less simple carbohydrates (sugar) and more of high fiber non starchy vegetables will make your blood sugar more stable, more in range, and make it far easier to avoid highs and lows.

So it is clear-The devil is sugar. We don’t realize that we are eating way too much sugar because it is hiding in practically everything we consume. While we know it in its natural form of table sugar, it’s also in bread, pasta, rice and hidden in foods like ketchup, yogurt, spaghetti sauce, breakfast cereals and on and on, well, it’s just about everywhere, including the majority of our processed, refined food products. Choose whole foods, natural for you and your family and avoid any food with a long list of ingredients or ingredients that you cannot pronounce!

Here is to kicking out sugar and healthy living!