Friday, November 14, 2008

Nov 14th World Diabetes Day

In 2007 and 2008, the theme of World Diabetes Day is Diabetes in Children and Adolescents. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. Type 1is growing by 3% per year in children and adolescents, and at an alarming 5% per year among pre-school children. It is estimated that 70,000 children under 15 develop type 1 diabetes each year (almost 200 children a day). Currently, an estimated 440,000 children live with type 1 diabetes globally.

Diabetes in Children and Adolescents

Diabetes is one of the most chronic diseases of childhood. It can strike children of any age including infants and toddlers. World Diabetes Day focuses on children and adolescents to raise awareness of the diabetes and its impact on children. Every child has a right to a long and healthy life.

No child should die of diabetes
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is the most common cause of death and disability in children with type 1 diabetes around the world.
Children die because their families cannot afford the medication they need
Many children with diabetes in developing countries die soon after diagnosis.
Despite modern treatment, over 50% of children with diabetes develop complications 12years after diagnosis.
More than 200 children develop type 1 diabetes every day
Diabetes is different for children
Diabetes affects children of all ages
All diabetes is on the rise in children.
Diabetes affects children of all ages.
Diabetes is increasing in children and adolescents.
Care for children is best when a multidisciplinary approach is adopted involving health professionals from all areas that concern children.
A child's access to appropriate medication and care should be a right not a privilege.
Diabetes costs more than money.
Children with diabetes can live full, healthy, and productive lives.
Over 50% of type 2 diabetes can be prevented.
Diabetes brings different challenges at different ages.
Diabetes hits the poorest hardest.
The World Diabetes Day campaign in 2007 and 2008 aims to:

Increase the number of children supported by the International Diabetes Federation's Life for a Child Program
Raise awareness of the warning signs of diabetes
Encourage initiatives to reduce diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and distribute materials to support these initiatives

Today on Diabetes awareness day I woke up thankful that Maddison and I are alive and living happy and healthy with Diabetes. This day is just another day for so many others, but for us it has great meaning. As a parent of a child with Diabetes, I cannot overlook my opportunity to do my share today and help raise awareness. So here is even more important information that I wish everyone knew about Diabetes.....

In the days before insulin, diabetes was a slow but sure death sentence that typically struck children and adults under 30. Victims had constant thirst and voracious appetites, but wasted away when they could not process their food. Hospital diabetic wards were full of living skeletons.

At the time of the discovery of insulin, the only way to manage diabetes was through a diet low in carbohydrate and sugar, and high in fat and protein. Instead of dying shortly after diagnosis, this diet allowed diabetics to live but only for a few years at most. Victims eventually fell into a coma and died, frequently within months of a diagnosis.

Diabetes Mellitus is a medical condition known to physicians for thousands of years. References to this disease can be found in many ancient writings. Diabetes was given its name by the Greeks after their word for siphon. The term "Mellitus," Latin for honey or sweet, was added after doctors realized the urine of a diabetic person was loaded with sugar. A taste test was the original means of diagnosing diabetes mellitus. A taste test of urine to see if it was sweet containing sugar. It was often called the sugar disease or later sugar diabetes. However, the cause of diabetes remained a mystery until recent times. In the early 1920s, researchers strongly suspected that diabetes was caused by a malfunction in the digestive system related to the pancreas gland, a small organ that sits behind the stomach more on the left side of the body.

Since insulin was discovered in 1921, it has become one of the most thoroughly studied molecules in scientific history. Much of the insulin science and delivery technology has changed at great deal. However, one thing remains constant. In Sir Frederick Banting own words. "Insulin is not an cure" More work needs to be done!

Although there are certainly similarities between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, there are even more differences. Type 1, which accounts for only about 5 to 10% of all diabetics, usually starts during childhood, whereas Type 2 is typically diagnosed during adulthood. Because Type 1 diabetes mostly affects young babies and children, it used to be call juvenile-onset diabetes. Similarly, Type 2 diabetes used to be referred to as mature-onset diabetes. Type 1 sufferers have a total lack of insulin, whereas Type 2 diabetics either have too little insulin or their body cannot manage its insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone that the pancreas produces; it permits sugar to enter body cells for energy. The way that a person handles their insulin difficulties depends on what type of diabetes the person has.

The causes of Type 1 and Type 2 are quite different. Type 1 cannot be prevented – there is nothing that a person can do “wrong” to provoke the body to develop Type 1. Type 2, however, is generally thought to be preventable, although it can also be genetic. Type 2 may develop as the result of obesity or high blood pressure. Although most Type 2 sufferers are adults, there has recently been a rise in the number of young people diagnosed with this type of diabetes. The rise is often attributed to the increased rates of obesity among youths. The symptoms of Type 1 diabetes are usually very severe. A child will suddenly become extremely sick and weak, experience increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss and decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach and abdominal pain, and excessive fatigue. Such symptoms require immediate medical attention, usually hospitalization. Type 2, on the other hand, is often diagnosed before any symptoms are present. A routine physical is often what reveals that someone has Type 2.

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are treated in very different ways. Type 2 can often be managed through developing a healthier lifestyle; eating better, reducing sugar and carbohydrate consumption, and doing regular exercise will often be all it takes to manage the condition. Some Type 2 diabetics take oral medications as well, and a few even require insulin injections. Beginning a weight loss program is vital to obese diabetics. Type 1 diabetes cannot be managed so easily. Insulin injections, often multiple times daily, combined with a regimented diet, exercise and foot care, are all essential components to treating this type. Meals have to be planned with insulin regulation in mind. It is essential that Type 1 diabetics diligently keep track of their blood sugar levels by taking blood tests regularly.

While there are clearly many differences between the two types of diabetes, there are also many similarities. Both types put sufferers at risk for a plethora of latent health problems, such as kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, leg amputation and partial paralysis. That is why it so essential for diabetics to educate themselves continually about treatment options. Advancements in the medical community have made managing diabetes much easier than it used to be. My father was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 32 years old – about 30 years ago. He used to have much bulkier blood-glucose equipment, and the machines required more than just a tiny drop of blood like today’s testing machines. Despite the strides that have been made, the most important factor has always been a sufferer’s willingness to be accountable and responsible once they discover that they are diabetic.

Please pass this information on to anyone and everyone you know. Diabetes is a very serious misunderstood disease. Although we live happy and healthy lives, we have to be diligent EVERY DAY in caring for ourselves and our Diabetes. We can manage the disease, but we will never be able to stop constantly adjusting insulin to control the disease. Every day is different. My child never gets a break from counting carbs and injecting insulin to assure she stays alive. My child cannot just run off to the park and play without her backpack full of emergency supplies. But one day, with every one's help in supporting awareness, research an education we will be able to see the promise of a cure become reality. Just like the discovery of insulin that keeps us alive everyday, we will find a cure. Researchers keep promising we are getting closer to a cure. I know some day that promise will be met. Take time out today to raise awareness. Take time out to think about what your life would be like without Diabetes. What a glorious life free of needles and poking our children would find again. Happy World Diabetes Day to everyone that has or loves someone with Diabetes! Together we stand as one.

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