Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sully's Diabetes Question of the Day: 3/31/2010

Received by our friend Marla:
What are the early warning signs of diabetes?

  • Frequent trips to the bathroom:Urination becomes more frequent when there is too much glucose in the blood. If insulin is nonexistent or ineffective, the kidneys can't filter glucose back to the blood. They become overwhelmed and try to draw extra water out of the blood to dilute the glucose. This keeps your bladder full and it keeps you running to the bathroom.Unquenchable
  • Thirst:If it feels like you can't get enough water and you're drinking much more than usual, it could be a sign of diabetes, especially if it seems to go hand in hand with frequent urination. If your body is pulling extra water out of your blood and you're running to the bathroom more, you will become dehydrated and feel the need to drink more to replace the water that you are losing.
  • Losing Weight Without Trying:This symptom is more noticeable with Type 1 diabetes. In Type 1, the pancreas stops making insulin, possibly due to a viral attack on pancreas cells or because an autoimmune response makes the body attack the insulin producing cells. The body desperately looks for an energy source because the cells aren't getting glucose. It starts to break down muscle tissue and fat for energy. Type 2 happens gradually with increasing insulin resistance so weight loss is not as noticeable.
  • Weakness and Fatigue:It's that bad boy glucose again. Glucose from the food we eat travels into the bloodstream where insulin is supposed to help it transition into the cells of our body. The cells use it to produce the energy we need to live. When the insulin isn't there or if the cells don't react to it anymore, then the glucose stays outside the cells in the bloodstream. The cells become energy starved and you feel tired and run down.
  • Tingling or Numbness in Your Hands, Legs or Feet:This symptom is called neuropathy. It occurs gradually over time as consistently high glucose in the blood damages the nervous system, particularly in the extremities. Type 2 diabetes is a gradual onset, and people are often not aware that they have it. Therefore, blood sugar might have been high for more than a few years before a diagnosis is made. Nerve damage can creep up without our knowledge. Neuropathy can very often improve when tighter blood glucose control is achieved.
  • Other Signs and Symptoms That Can Occur:Blurred vision, skin that is dry or itchy, frequent infections or cuts and bruises that take a long time to heal are also signs that something is amiss. Again, when these signs are associated with diabetes, they are the result of high glucose levels in the body. If you notice any of the above signs, schedule an appointment with your doctor. He or she will be able to tell you if you have reason to be concerned about a diagnosis of diabetes.

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References used ~

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Introducing our Diabetes Dog Sully

Over the next month I am going to share a lot of information about diabetes. I would like to introduce our friend Sully who is here to help us with that mission.

As some of you know I have three children, two of them (age 10 and 3) have been diagnosed with the diabetes label. All three however are affected by this disease. Diabetes doesn't just affect the individual living with the disease but the entire family when you are diagnosed as a child.

So WHAT is diabetes??

Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a general term for a variety of different metabolic disorders that affect the ability of the body to process and use sugar properly. Medically, this is referred to as an inability of the body to metabolize glucose effectively. This results in an abnormally high level of glucose in the blood, called hyperglycemia.

There are three most common forms of diabetes. I am going to be focusing on Type 1 Diabetes since that is what our family is mainly familar with.

  • Type 1: It occurs when the human body's autoimmune system does not produce enough insulin to combat the foreign bodies entering the bloodstream. It is caused by genetic and environmental factors. Formerly known as juvenile diabetes, this type often begins to make its appearance in pre-adolescence or adolescent growth. It is an insulin dependent autoimmune disease in which the body destroys its own beta cells. It accounts for 10% of all diabetes types.
  • Type 2: Also called adult onset or non-insulin dependent diabetes and is less serious of the two. It starts occurring when most of the muscles and other organs of the body stop utilizing insulin to breakdown sugar. It is caused by obesity and environmental factors.
  • Gestational Diabetes: This occurs during a woman’s pregnancy, the mother has difficulty digesting carbohydrates. Though its a temporary condition which mostly disappears after the pregnancy, the fetus has high chances of having Type 1 diabetes later on. It affects 2 to 3 % of the diabetic population. But, the kids born to diabetic parents have 20 to 25 % chances of having diabetes later-on in life.

So why am I going to do this...My son Tyler has taken on a BIG job to help with an event our family is now involved with called the Families in The Forest Walk FUNdraiser. His mission is to not only make awareness of what diabetes really is but to also help keep an amazing organization around for another 50 years. So stayed tuned to find out more about diabetes and the Diabetic Youth Foundation.

Information found on and "A First Book For Understanding Diabetes" by Eli Lilly and Company