Type 1 Diabetes

So what did we have to learn in the beginning?

Image Early day supplies !

So whilst we were in the hospital we were taught the basics of caring for a child with type 1 diabetes. This post is going to focus on the early days. Before Matthew went onto an insulin pump, and before we started more intensive monitoring.

I started typing out in way too much detail and then realized that, no one was going to read all that ! So here is the simplified version of our hospital training.

1 How to give insulin to our child

2 How much insulin to give to our child

3 How to use a blood glucose meter & lancing device (believe me I struggled to do this initially and that’s probably one of the easiest things to do !)

4 How to count carbohydrates  (I’ll talk about carbs in a separate post later)

5 How often we needed to check his blood glucose levels

6 What hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia is (well talk about that in another post too)

7 What to do in an emergency situation

8 How to use a Glucagon emergency pen (for severe low blood glucose level)

9 General information on what T1D is.

We were given a lesson with a nutritionist who recommended how many carbs for Matthew to eat with his meals, when he should eat extra snacks through the day and before bedtime. Matthew was also very happy to hear that a small tub of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream was only 18g of carbs ! We have a basic course of caring for a child with T1D. Plus we were shown how to draw up the insulin, mix the two types of insulin, and actually inject the insulin (that was so scary to do the first time)

Test paper and before Matthew could be discharged from hospital, we had to take a test ! As well as demonstrate that we could draw up the insulin and inject the insulin.

To be honest, Matthew could not wait to go home. I was actually terrified of him coming home. Suddenly you find yourself responsible for taking your child home from hospital and dealing with a chronic life threatening disease for which you are only just starting to get your head around. Remember how you felt taking a newborn baby home from hospital? Well multiply that by 1000 in terms of knowing nothing and that everything you do now, means your child’s life is in your hands. Scary !

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What is Type 1 Diabetes?

So what is Type 1 Diabetes? You’ve heard about Type 2, so what is the difference?  I have copied some information from JDRF’s website. This link can be found below. Probably the most important information you can have, is knowing the warning signs of Type 1 Diabetes. I would urge everyone to familiarize themselves with the symptoms. T1D can become  life threatening in a very short space of time in an undiagnosed person. Here is some information:

Very important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms

Very important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it.

Whom T1D Affects

Type 1 diabetes strikes both children and adults at any age. It comes on suddenly, causes dependence on injected or pumped insulin for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications.

How T1D Is Managed

Living with T1D is a constant challenge. People with the disease must carefully balance insulin doses (either by injections multiple times a day or continuous infusion through a pump) with eating and other activities throughout the day and night. They must also measure their blood-glucose level by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day. Despite this constant attention, people with T1D still run the risk of dangerous high or low blood-glucose levels, both of which can be life threatening. People with T1D overcome these challenges on a daily basis.

Insulin Is Not a Cure

While insulin injections or infusion allow a person with T1D to stay alive, they do not cure the disease, nor do they necessarily prevent the possibility of the disease’s serious effects, which may include: kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, heart attack, stroke, and pregnancy complications.

The Outlook for Treatments and a Cure

Although T1D is a serious and difficult disease, treatment options are improving all the time, and people with T1D can lead full and active lives. JDRF is driving research to progressively remove the impact of the disease from people’s lives until we ultimately achieve a world without T1D.

Statistics

• As many as three million Americans may have T1D.1

• Each year, more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults—approximately 80 people per day—are diagnosed with T1D in the U.S.2

• Approximately 85 percent of people living with T1D are adults, and 15 percent of people living with T1D are children.1

• The prevalence of T1D in Americans under age 20 rose by 23 percent between 2001 and 2009.3

• The rate of T1D incidence among children under age 14 is estimated to increase by three percent annually worldwide.4

• T1D accounts for $14.9 billion in healthcare costs in the U.S. each year.5

Warning Signs

Warning signs of T1D may occur suddenly and can include:

• Extreme thirst

• Frequent urination

• Drowsiness or lethargy

• Increased appetite

• Sudden weight loss

• Sudden vision changes

• Sugar in the urine

• Fruity odor on the breath

• Heavy or labored breathing

• Stupor or unconsciousness

 

https://jdrf.org/about-jdrf/fact-sheets/type-1-diabetes-facts/

A bit about my blog…

Hi, my name is Carolyn and my son, Matthew was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in November 2012, at the age of 11. When your child is diagnosed with a chronic, life threatening, non curable disease, you as a parent research and learn as much as you can about it.

We as a family knew nothing about Type 1 Diabetes at all before our son’s diagnosis. We pretty much only knew ‘diabetes’ as the stereotypical Type 2 Diabetes which dominates in the media. Mainly because approx 95% of the population with diabetes have Type 2, and approx only 5% Type 1.

There is so much you have to learn before you leave the hospital with your child. But the learning does not stop there. As time goes on, you learn new tricks, how different types of food affect your blood glucose levels, the technology that is out there, the list is endless.

I had intended to start this blog a few weeks after he was diagnosed, mainly as a type of therapy for me. I had so much I wanted to say and felt totally overwhelmed by the huge change to our family life. Then the tragedy at Sandy Hook occurred a few weeks later and my enthusiasm just evaporated. But 16 months on, I feel I’m ready to talk. I have a lot of catching up to do now !

I am hoping that by sharing some of our experiences, you can learn to understand what Type 1 Diabetes is all about and if you yourself or your child is newly diagnosed, you may find some information helpful.

Please note, that I cannot offer medical advice. I will share what we do to manage Type 1 Diabetes to the best of our ability, but you should always refer to your Endocrinologist or CDE if you want to make any changes or look into the technology I mention.