Support Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Month

What motivates you? For WCU employee Brianna it’s helping those who suffer from Type 1 Diabetes. Those sufferers include her 8-year-old daughter. “Like most people I didn’t know anything about diabetes until I was directly impacted,” said Brianna. “When we found out my daughter was impacted, we had so many emotions going through us at once. We felt bad that she had been having all these symptoms and didn’t know what was happening, worried about the future, and guilty thinking it was something we had done.”

That’s a common misconception. Type One Diabetes has nothing to do with diet, or lifestyle, or anything else a parent or kid has done, including eating a lot of candy or juice, and unfortunately there’s no current cure. Insulin doesn’t prevent Type 1 Diabetes. An insulin pump is needed to manage blood-sugar level to keep people with diabetes alive.

Just some of the insulin pumps needed

For Brianna one of the most frustrating things is how hard it can be to manage. “It’s not a one plus one equals two situation. There are so many different factors that go into blood sugar, that my daughter can do the same thing she did the day before, and still suffer from low blood sugar,” she said.

Diabetes is a worldwide problem. There are over 422 million people with diabetes according to the World Health Organization, and it contributes directly to 1.5 million deaths a year, and that number is growing. The CDC estimates that over 21 percent of adults with diabetes don’t even realize it.

With children it can be equally as difficult. Teachers are often the first to recognize the symptoms, since they see so many children every day.

So what are the indicators? There’s many, but the common signs are:

  • Sudden strange behavior (acting “drunk”)
  • Breath that smells fruity, sweet, or like wine
  • Extreme drowsiness or lack of energy
  • Ongoing, intense thirst
  • Grunting while breathing
  • Heavy breathing
  • Huge appetite
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Urinating more often (infants and toddlers may have more wet diapers than usual)
  • Difficulty breathing

November is American Diabetes Awareness Month. Visit the American Diabetes Foundation to learn more, including how you can help.