Today is World Diabetes day. Our household is wearing blue in honor of the day. Hopefully, when we go out in our mass of blue, someone will ask what’s up and we will gladly tell them!
Also, our house will be lit in blue (thanks, Target!) tonight (and maybe for the rest of the month???). Again, hopefully a neighbor will ask why and we’ll get to share.
I’ve been seeing on a couple of the diabetes blogs I read an idea that some people did earlier in the week. I’m new here – I didn’t get the memo!
But, the idea is, tell 6 things you want everyone to know about diabetes, so that then they’ll know. And, since the people that come here are probably knitters and most of them not part of the diabetes community, I thought it would be great if I posted my list of 6 things now, even if I AM a few days late!! So, here we go:
6 Things I Want People to Know About Diabetes:
1. There are TWO TYPES of diabetes. Type 1, which is what The Boy has, used to be called juvenile diabetes. It is an autoimmune disease, and is becoming much more common in today’s world, and is being diagnosed later and later in life. These days, it’s normally referred to as Type 1. Type 2 diabetes is what MOST of the world knows about, and what MOST people with diabetes have. Type 2 diabetes is often genetic, and TENDS to be most prevalent in people who are older, tend to eat unhealthy foods, get little exercise, and/or are overweight. This does NOT mean that everyone with Type 2 diabetes can be described that way. Often these people can treat their diabetes successfully by eating better, adopting a regular exercise program, and taking medicine in a pill form. Sometimes, it is best for people with Type 2 diabetes to take insulin injections. It is ALWAYS necessary for people (like The Boy) to use insulin to treat their diabetes. There is no choice. Without insulin, someone with Type 1 diabetes will die. Pills are not an option (no matter how much their mommies wish it was!).
2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. There is NOTHING we could have done to prevent The Boy from getting it, and there is nothing he can do to get rid of it. Not even exercise more (and I’d like everyone who’s ever suggested that to me to just TRY following this tornado of a kid around for a week – or even just a day – and see if they’d like to ammend that suggestion!), not eat “better” (I wonder how many of THOSE people eat as many fruits and veggies in a day as The Boy does), not even eating nothing but ham and greens. Yes, that was an honest-to-God suggestion from someone last Spring. I KNOW!!! We do not know what caused The Boy to get diabetes, we only know that his immune system attacked his pancreas, his pancreas now doesn’t make insulin properly, and that means diabetes.
3. About 220 million people around the world have diabetes. Only about 2 million of those people have Type 1 diabetes. The Boy does not have the type of diabetes your grandmother or overweight uncle do.
4. Yes, people with Type 1 diabetes can eat what they want. Within reason. There are no “forbidden” foods. Their pancreases don’t work. They (or their parents) learn how to administer insulin properly, thereby acting as their body’s pancreas. Each. Time. They. Eat. So yes, they can have that doughnut. And yes, a cupcake is allowed. Of course, they should not eat those things ALL the time. Neither should you.
5. There is no cure for diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes will have to take insulin for the rest of their lives. Insulin is a medicine to control diabetes. It is not a cure. They will not ‘grow out of it.’ They will have it for life, unless a cure is found. Sad, but true.
Occasionally, someone with Type 2 diabetes will loose weight, exercise, and be able to get by without taking medicine to control their diabetes. This does not mean they are cured. This means they are using diet and exercise to control their diabetes.
6. For Type 1 diabetes, the method of treatment is not an indication of ‘how bad’ the person’s diabetes is. The Boy is looking forward to using an insulin pump soon (we hopefully will get the go-ahead on Wednesday from the endocrinologist). He HATES shots and still isn’t satisfied with the tiny pen needles he gets to use these days. He still takes a very small amount of insulin, and has only been dealing with diabetes since March of this year. His diabetes is not ‘bad’ at all, but he will be on a pump.
For now, that is all. There’s actually plenty more, but the idea was share 6.