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Monday, December 19, 2011

all i want for christmas is...

"no diabetes"

for family night, my daughter merideth had her children write their lists to santa.  lily wrote itunes money and taylor wants her very own camera.  crew asked for strawberries, he is only 3 and loves strawberries.  but lukey, with all the faith of a 5 year old, said with a big grin, "no diabetes".  what can you say when your child asks for such a gift?  my heart broke, when i heard the story.

luke has had type 1 diabetes for 4 years now, 
it will never go away unless there is a cure.  
people often confuse type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes) and type 2 diabetes.  one of the biggest differences is the cause.  when people don't understand the difference they sometimes have asked my daughter what she is feeding him to cause the diabetes?  this has brought much heartache to merideth knowing that others thought she caused this.  type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with diet, exercise, or life style.  you cannot cause it to happen.  like many chronic diseases, it is just a part of who you are.

lukey has only known life with diabetes.  luckily, it does not inhibit him from having a happy and full life.  he is a thriving kindergartener who loves school and being active.  he is a hilarious and loving boy and on any normal day you would never know there was anything different about him. 

what is type 1 diabetes? 
article found on {jdrf.org}
type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas, an organ about the size of a hand that is located behind the lower part of the stomach.  these cells - called - beta cells are contained, along with other types of cells, within small islands of endocrine cells called the pancreatic islets.  beta cells normally produce insulin, a hormone that helps the body move the glucose contained in food into cells throughout the body, which use it for energy.  but when the beta cells are  destroyed, no insulin can be produced, and the glucose stays in the blood instead, where it can cause serious damage to all the organ systems of the body.

for this reason, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin in order to stay alive.  this means undergoing multiple injections daily, or having insulin delivered through an insulin pump, and testing their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day.  people with diabetes must also carefully balance their food intake and their exercise to regulate their blood sugar levels, in an attempt to avoid hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions,
which can be life threatening.  

the warning signs of type 1 diabetes include extreme thirst; frequent urination; drowsiness or lethargy; sugar in urine; sudden vision changes; increased appetite; sudden weight loss; fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath; heavy, labored breathing; stupor; and unconsciousness.

type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults.  scientists do not yet know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes, but they believe that autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors are involved.

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