Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Interrupt This Diet Blog...

To do a little PSA about Diabetes...

Diagram shows insulin release from the Pancrea...Image via Wikipedia

*Climbs up on Soap Box* First, I want to share. My Dad is a type 1 diabetic and I have been Hypoglycemic all my life. I just recently finished serving on the Board of Directors for my local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). I have to tell you that even type 1 is not just a kids disease anymore. More and more adults are being diagnosed with it, and then there is type 2 that looms out there for many of us.

I noticed lately on the blog an influx of comments relating to blood sugars and being pre-diabetic so I wanted to stop and share some info with everyone. I am robbing this data from the JDRF website so you can go there for a ton more info!

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is the most common and most dangerous condition for many people with type 1 diabetes. Very low blood sugar may lead to insulin shock, which can be life threatening if not promptly treated. Low blood sugar occurs when the body has too little food/glucose or too much insulin.

The following are all potential reasons that a person with diabetes might have low blood sugar:

* Too much insulin taken
* Eating less than usual
* Eating later than usual
* Insulin was injected at a site on the body where the absorption rate is faster than usual
* Injecting extra insulin after forgetting about a previous dose
* More exercise than normal
* Illness or injury
* Other hormones
* Medication interaction

The following is a list of general symptoms that indicate low blood sugar (the person with type 1 diabetes may exhibit one or more of these):

* Dizziness
* Nervousness
* Personality change/irrational behavior
* Blurry vision
* Shakiness
* Nausea
* Crying
* Sluggishness
* Sweating
* Poor coordination
* Hunger
* Lightheadedness
* Irritability
* Drowsiness
* Erratic response to questions
* Inability to concentrate

Severe symptoms (symptoms as listed above, plus):

* Convulsions
* Unconsciousness

High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, occurs when the body has too much food or glucose, or too little insulin. The following are all potential reasons that a person with type 1 diabetes might have high blood sugar:

* Not enough insulin taken
* Eating more than usual
* Eating earlier than usual
* Eating food with higher glucose content without injecting extra insulin
* Injecting insulin at a site on the body where the absorption rate is slower
* Missing or skipping an insulin dose
* A clog in insulin pump tubing
* Less exercise than normal
* Stress
* Illness or injury
* Other hormones
* Medications

High blood sugar generally does not immediately put the person with type 1 diabetes in danger. However, high blood sugar levels over long periods of time can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and amputation.

Very high blood sugar levels can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), or a "diabetic coma." DKA occurs when the cells can't get the energy they need from glucose, and the body begins to burn fat and body tissue for energy. This causes the release of byproducts called ketones, which are dangerous when released at high levels. Ketones become like poison to the body and are passed in the urine as they build up in the blood.

A person with type 1 diabetes and high blood sugar may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

* Thirst (dehydration)
* Frequent urination
* Blurry vision
* Stomach pain
* Increased hunger
* Nausea
* Drowsiness, lethargy, exhaustion
* Confusion
* Sweating
* Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
* Vomiting
* Inability to concentrate
* Weight loss (a longer-term symptom) that eventually leads to coma

Now, whether you have type 1 or type 2 the symptoms are similar. How you address the issue may differ. If you do or don't take insulin, etc. I am offering no medical advice here...just sharing some information and reminding everyone that if you are at risk, you need to deal with this issue.

I am lucky, my dad has been diabetic for over 5o years, and is still in relatively good shape. Not all diabetics fare so well. His secrets? He is proactive in his medical care. He eats right, exercises, and pays attention to advances in diabetes care. At the age of 70 he has a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump, but he hasn't always had those. I can't stress how important diet and exercise is. And I don't mean losing weight as much as I mean eating healthy. Take care of yourselves! *climbs down off soap box*

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robin on July 18, 2010 at 8:13 AM said...

Thanks so much for this, Dara! I almost think we should make it a sticky and keep it at the top of the page. I just watched the episode of Losing It where Jillian was on an Indian Reservation that had a HUGE occurrence of Diabetes and pre-diabetes. Diet. Exercise. Yes Yes Yes.

MamaKitty on July 19, 2010 at 8:42 AM said...

My mom has had chronic pancreatitis for the past 10 years. She had a Whipple Procedure done about 8 years ago, and typically the remaining part of the pancreas only lasts 5 years. She was lucky, and it lasted 8 before shutting down altogether. Because of the fact that she now has no working pancreas, she is officially a Type 1 diabetic. Her health is too poor to allow for her to exercise regularly, but she does walk when she's feeling up to it.

I'm terrified of developing diabetes - and with my being 80+ pounds overweight for so many years, it's not outside the realm of possibility that I could develop it (which is one of the primary reasons I started on this weightloss journey). I'm down 45 pounds and need to drop about 35 more before I'm in the "healthy" range.

Thank you for this post. You've reminded me why I'm doing this and given me a few things to think about with regards to my health, my mother's health, and even my daughter's health (even though she's a skinny minnie, I still need to be aware of the status of her health... and that includes her blood sugar).


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