9 vital things you need to know about diabetes

Posted October 17

A person with diabetes is just as normal as you are. (Deseret Photo)

For someone who doesn’t have diabetes it can be difficult to understand exactly what it means. Someone with diabetes needs to completely change their lifestyle and their eating habits. A diabetic must be more aware of the amount of activity they’re doing, how much food they’re eating and the amount of sugar in that food. It is crucial that family and friends of diabetics have enough knowledge of the disease to be able to help in case of emergencies and keep successful control of it. It isn’t easy for some diabetics (especially children) to express that they need help or don’t need your help, so here are nine vital things a diabetic wants you to know:

1. You don’t get Type 1 diabetes from being fat or eating too much sugar

While Type 2 diabetes is onset by obesity and unhealthy eating, Type 1 diabetes is not. It is hereditary and cannot be prevented. Doctors couldn’t have done anything to prevent a child or teenager from getting Type 1 diabetes. It’s a genetic disease that could affect anyone, especially children and adolescents

2. There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes

The effects of Type 2 diabetes can be reversed through healthy eating and exercise; however, it cannot be cured in Type 1 Diabetics. No amount of oils, aromatherapy, extreme diets, health fads or eating no carbs at all can cure Type 1. Because their pancreas is dead, Type 1 Diabetics need to take insulin with every meal in order to keep their glucose levels at a healthy, normal level so they can live on a day to day basis.

3. A diabetic can still eat sugar

Diabetics are still allowed to eat sugar. Like any human on earth, sugar should be eaten in moderation and everyone should still make an effort to eat as healthy as possible. Diabetics just need to correct the amount of sugar they eat in their food with insulin so their glucose levels don’t skyrocket and damage their organs.

4. They need to know the carbs inside everything they eat

In order for a diabetic to eat, he or she must know the amount of carbs in all of the food in their meal. For homemade foods or restaurants and other places that do not have carbohydrate information, it makes it difficult for diabetics to know exactly how much insulin they need to dose for. Playing the guessing game is a dangerous game for a diabetic to play, because if they inject too little insulin their blood sugar will skyrocket and too much insulin can send their blood sugar dangerously low.

5. Diabetes is a life-threatening disease

Diabetics need insulin in order to survive. Without insulin, a diabetic’s glucose levels are unmanageable and can easily skyrocket. This could lead to Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), which is when a diabetic goes into a coma and the organs in the body start to shut down. If diabetes is left untreated and undiagnosed, it can lead to organ damage and possibly even death. Too many children like Kycie Terry received a diagnosis too late and has passed away as a result of their diabetes.

6. Family/friend support and knowledge of diabetes is crucial

With added stress or heightened activity, a diabetic’s sugar can skyrocket or drop dramatically. It’s crucial for friends, family, teachers and adults to be aware of the disease and the signs in order to help a diabetic in case they are in need. Additionally, people close to a diabetic need to watch out for dramatic changes in a diabetic’s emotions or demeanor.

Some diabetics can get to a point where they are so low or so high they are physically unable to check their blood and inject the insulin they need into their system. Having a teacher, adult or friend close by who knows the signs and is able to check a diabetic’s blood sugar, provide high-sugar snacks and/or inject insulin is extremely important in case of emergencies. For a diabetic to be surrounded by people who are educated about diabetes, it is crucial to successful control of the disease.

7. They need to take breaks after heightened activity

During periods of heightened activity when a diabetic is playing sports or exercising, it’s easy for their glucose levels to drop below normal. When this happens, the diabetic needs to take a break and eat a snack that is high in sugar and wait at least twenty minutes for the sugar to kick in before they can continue. They usually carry a bag with them with glucose tablets, juice boxes or candy high in sugar to help get their glucose levels up in case they drop low.

8. Know what to do in case of an emergency

If a diabetic passes out, it most likely means that their glucose level has dropped dramatically and is at a dangerously low level. The first step is to check the diabetic’s blood. If their blood sugar is extremely low, they should have a glucagon pen. Find the glucagon pen and inject it into their thigh. This will help to spike their blood sugar to a healthier level. Sometimes the glucagon pen is enough for the diabetic to become coherent. However, if the diabetic does not regain consciousness after injecting the glucagon pen, immediately call 9-1-1.

Keep checking their blood while you wait for medical personnel to arrive. This is a situation where it is important for people to be educated about diabetes in order to help in emergencies like this one and potentially save a life.

9. They are still normal people

Someone who has diabetes can still live an active and healthy life with it. A diabetic is not a disabled person. They still live normal lives just like anyone else. Diabetes is simply a disease that controls a diabetic’s life and determines how much and what they eat. The only difference is they need to be more cautious and aware of the foods they eat so they can better manage their blood sugar and keep it at normal, healthy levels. Diabetics do not want to be treated differently than everyone else. They are just as normal as you are.


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