Saturday, September 10, 2011

About Diabetes

Obviously we have learned a LOT about Diabetes in the last few days. I thought I would share a few of the things to help you all understand a little more.

Type I is completely unpreventable. It is an autoimmune response where the body attacks the Pancreas until it can longer produce the hormones necessary to process Glucose. Science is unsure what causes it, but it cannot be cured or prevented as of now.

Type I has nothing to do with diet and exercise. Unlike Type II which can often be caused by poor diet and exercise and controlled by improving those things.

In the last several years treatments have improved so much that Diabetics no longer have to be on a strict diet. James will be able to eat anything that he wants, as long as we adjust his insulin accordingly. We will make some changes obviously, because the less sugar he eats the less medicine we have to inject, but for the most part he can eat his normal diet. We just have to consolidate his meals and snacks so he doesn't have to get as many injections.

There are several treatment options that will be available to James once we have stabilized him more, but all include injecting Insulin. There are insulin pumps he will probably be able to use that make it so we don't have to poke him every meal and stuff, but he will be insulin dependent for the rest of his life...unless they find a cure before then!

We have to check James' glucose level by pricking his finger at least 4 times a day.

We calculate his insulin dosage based on the number of carbs he is about to eat. Carbs are what turn to glucose in our bloodstream. That means we will be counting carbs in EVERYTHING.

It is best for James to get insulin before he eats, which means we have to try and estimate how much he is going to eat in advance. Tricky business with a 4-year-old! So far he is doing great, but we are feeding him what he wants to make that easier. Once I go back to making what I want, it might be a different story!

High blood sugar is what is dangerous in the long term, so as long as it is controlled he should not have to deal with the circulatory or vision problems that are the horror stories of diabetes.

Low blood sugar is more dangerous in the short term. If his sugar gets too low he could be unresponsive, unconscious and have seizures. We have something that is the equivalent of an epi-pen for if his sugar is that dangerously low. But that is an extreme thing, most diabetics do not experience that these days. Luckily, since we keep a close eye on the numbers usually a cup of juice or fruit snacks is all we will need.

So basically our job is to try and keep his sugar somewhere in the middle as best we can. Its tricky but we are slowly figuring it out. If any of you have questions, feel free to ask! I would love for lots of people to understand.

And by the way, he can lead a normal life. Play sports, go to friends houses all that stuff. You don't need to be afraid of him. ;)


Emily said...

I was so worried for you and for James, but this post makes it all seem rather...mundane. Like it's going to be okay. That's so GREAT for you guys!

FYI, there was a diabetic in Isaac's class last year and I calculated the carbs for her so the nurse knew how much insulin to inject before snack time. It wasn't as hard as I expected but also I'm glad I don't have to do it 12 times a day. :)

The Woolley's said...

Thanks for letting us know more about it! He is definitely welcome to come play at our house still! I never would have thought otherwise. You guys can do it!!