It is a disease that a lot of people don’t understand or think is a risk to them.
November just ended which was Diabetes Awareness Month and it is a disease that a lot of people don’t understand or think is a risk to them.
I wanted to write a piece that rather than fill you with all the information (which I do in some parts) but also give you a real life account from a parent’s perspective. Childhood diabetes is more common than we think and parents should educate themselves with the symptoms and risks attributed to Diabetes. Here I will give you some information but also a true account of what it is like to be a parent whose child suffers with diabetes type 1.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high. Diabetes can cause serious health problems like heart attacks, strokes and kidney problems.
What is the difference in the types of Diabetes?
- Type 1 diabetes- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body’s defence system attacks itself, if you have type 1 diabetes it means your body does not make insulin so you must take insulin every day. Causes- It usually develops in childhood and it can be inherited.
- Types 2 diabetes- This type is the most common and you can get it at any age. With type 2 your body is unable to make insulin or is unable to use the insulin properly. Causes- It is more common in adults, especially those who are overweight or have a history of diabetes in their family.
- Gestational diabetes- This type is one that only pregnant women can suffer from and can cause health problems for the mother and her unborn baby. Causes-During pregnancy the placenta makes hormones that lead to the build-up of sugar in the blood.
What are the symptoms?
- Hunger and fatigue.
- Urinating more often and being thirstier.
- Blurred vision and dizzy head.
There a number of symptoms so if you are at all worried always see your Doctor.
To research on diabetes I used many sources but went to speak to mother of a girl aged 10 who has type 1 diabetes. Like a lot of people I wasn’t at all aware of the impact it has on a person’s life and found it surprising and sad. This little girl was diagnosed aged 7 after months and months of her daughter having major thirst and constantly wetting the bed, often her mother noted that her daughter complained of being dizzy in school and exhausted. Luckily for this little girl she was already in the health system as she suffers from juvenile arthritis and after mentioning these things to a Doctor she had some tests and sure enough it was diabetes type 1.
The mother recalls feeling devastated at her little ones diagnosis and tried to hold it together for her daughter’s sake but found it hard to digest the seriousness of her condition. Suddenly everything changed as her mammy recounted how simple things like having a hot chocolate after school were now out, and her daughter would have to learn to check her blood sugar and take insulin. Their lives were changing completely, her daughter was an amazing little girl who took it all in her stride and rarely complained.
I asked her mammy how life is now for them, and she said that it was an everyday battle, as each day everything had to be planned, eating and ensuring her daughter was well. There were many hospital visits some worse than others and her daughters school must have her number imprinted on their brain as the amount of times she has had to dash to the school when her daughter is unwell. Her mam told me how a little infection in her nails can be a huge issue for a person with diabetes such is the seriousness of amputations. I have since read that you are 18 times more likely to have an amputation if you suffer from diabetes, and there isn’t enough awareness about the implications of diabetes.
The future is also an issue, as this little girl will grow and hit puberty apparently a notoriously difficult time for healthy girls never mind a girl with type 1 diabetes. Her Mam said she has being warned that some girls during puberty find it hard to eat, and eating is so important to their health as well as eating the right foods at the right time. Furthermore this mam said her biggest fear was if her daughter goes on to fall in love and wants to start a family, as this can be quite difficult and complicated for a person with diabetes.
It is sad that anyone gets diabetes but for children, who should be able to live free from worry it is terrible and a life changing event in their lives. All parents worry for their kids but for this incredibly brave mam she will have extra worry, extra times to fret, extra appointments and many unplanned hospital visits. We should all take the time to learn about diabetes and this will help us recognise the signs before it gets out of control.
Thank you to the kind mam who took the time to talk to me educating me on diabetes and I wish them a happy and healthy future. x
Written by Emma, Irish mummy blogger and staff writer at www.familyfriendlyhq.ie