Today, March 22nd is Diabetes Alert Day; I want to support the ADA in spreading the word… it is a one-day “wake-up” call asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. You can take the Diabetes Risk Test now!
I am especially worried about young adults and teens – the YOUNG American public, who may not visit their doctor too often; or they are away from home at college or for whatever reason doesn’t think they are “old enough” to have Diabetes. In the minds of some young people, they associate all illnesses with “getting older” or “not taking care of yourself”. Diabetes has no label at all; you can be any age, race or religion. However, race, age, your weight and family history “can” determine whether you are at risk. I am posting this blog, in honor of my son, who was diagnosed with Diabetes this year.
It is important to take the test, and I will tell you why… several years ago, my sister in law (who was a young mom) was curling her hair and all of a sudden fell to the floor, thank goodness my other sister-in-law was there and performed CPR. It turns out that she had diabetes and went into a diabetic coma for a few weeks. She had no idea that her sugar was high; whenever she “wasn’t feeling right”; she attributed it to stress, work, fatigue or her thyroid condition. Thank God, she is doing well today due to the oral meds and ADA diet. Last year, my son (age 18) became increasingly thirsty, but since he is at the doctor’s office routinely for other conditions, I didn’t think anything was serious. After all, I am with him all the time, he isn’t overweight and he eats well; no junk food in his daily routine except for an occasional Coke or Hershey candy. He doesn’t even have ANY cavities! However, the day he drank over 30 glasses of fluids… I was worried. An immediate visit with our family physician showed his blood sugar was 478 on an empty stomach!!! Average glucose levels fall between 70 and 140 mg. Levels typically are lower in the morning, and rise after meals.
Many young people were shocked a few years ago to learn that Nick Jones of the Jonas Brothers was diagnosed with diabetes, read his story: Diabetes Won’t Stop Nick Jonas. He is now the spokesperson for Bayer (see his blogs at “Nicks Simple Wins”) . Nick has all sort of helpful items on the site, such as the dog tags and the Nick Jonas’ CONTOUR USB Meter (a USB drive meter, so you can check easily and keep records on your computer) Proceeds from each sale will be donated by Bayer to the Jonas Brothers’ Change for the Children Foundation.. Nick Jonas says the Contour USB Meter is best for him because of his hectic schedule. Nick Jonas is the same age as my son.
Let me tell you the main reason for young people to get treated if you learn that you ARE Diabetic… it’s because there are different types and many plans of treatment, and in some cases, the sooner that you are treated MAY make a big difference on your life plan. If you’re a child and get diagnosed as Diabetic, it’s called Juvenile Diabetes aka Type 1; and if you’re an adult with Diabetes, it can also be Type 1, but usually is Type 1.5 or Type 2 – here are the differences:
If you have diabetes, the amount of blood glucose is too high – a condition called hyperglycemia. This happens for one of two main reasons:
- The body is producing no insulin – this is Diabetes Type 1
- The cells do not respond correctly to the insulin – this is Diabetes Type 1
- Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults (LADA), also known as Diabetes Type 1.5, is used to describe slow-onset Type 1 autoimmune diabetes in adults.
Type 2 Diabetes sometimes called “insulin resistance” can be a diagnosis related to other conditions that young people have such as PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) – but there are other illnesses that health care providers now believe can be associated with “insulin resistance”.
However, in young people, many are newly diagnosed in a “honeymoon phase”, where the body may still be producing some insulin. This needs to be treated carefully, sometimes with insulin AND oral meds; many doctors believe that a combination of meds can be instrumental in an effort to preserve some of the beta cells that have not been destroyed. Treatment with insulin may allow the beta cells to recover and produce some amount of insulin. As a result the doses of injected insulin can be decreased and blood sugar control is improved. The honeymoon period does not occur in all patients.
Other things to check out… when my son was just diagnosed, he was very moody, depressed, and tired. After he knew what we were dealing with, he was still annoyed at having to give up some foods, but after a while, he learned to enjoy other foods in moderation and in balance with his glucose values for the day. It’s all about making the right choices, eating the correct portion sizes and doing it in moderation. Medication adjustments have been going on all year, but we have been “reducing” the oral meds, which may just be temporary… but at least “we know that”.
And if by chance you are diagnosed with Diabetes, here are some helpful links of things that can make your new diagnosis easier:
1) Great book by Ginger Vieria called “Your Diabetes Experiment” and you can buy it and check out her Video Blogs on her website, Living In Progress. Ginger’s blogs have been instrumental to my son… also check out her guest blog today at Notes from the back of the book an intro by Ellen Hoenig Carlson. Ginger is a power-lifer and has great tips and ways to exercise; but more importantly, how to adjust your meals to your exercise plans.
2) Pilates coach Kathi Casey posted a blog today about Diabetic Neuropathy (nerve damage due to diabetes). Diabetic neuropathy is the most common serious complication of diabetes; about 50% of people with diabetes eventually develop some form of nerve damage. Prolonged high blood sugar levels can damage nerve fibers. Important to read.
3) Apps for your smart-phone/i Phones:
· Students with Diabetes– Has tips for creating a routine and alcohol carb counts
8) Lance Armstrong’s site LIVESTRONG: Food & Snack Ideas for Teen Diabetics
9) Invisible Bracelet – Virtual medical tag with text messaging
11) Myabetic – Stylish/Convenient Testing Cases
Pharmaceutical companies are moving in the right direction to expand their reach in social media for tweens, teens and young adults; Sanofi-Aventis launched a new “Discuss Diabetes” blog . The company launched a Facebook page and Twitter feed a while back and they made a “Go Meals” carb counter app available for the Android, iPhone and iPad. Sanofi-Aventis and other pharma companies have YouTube Channels and are increasing their social media reach quickly to engage young people – this is a benefit for young people to get “accurate information” about the medication prescribed.
I am finding new helpful links every day, so if you’re searching for something specific, leave me a comment – I may be able to help and perhaps we can continue to learn together! Please get checked… it’s important for you and your life.