Posts Tagged ‘Type 1’

by JoVon Sotak | August 24, 2011

“New insulin pump arrived today. Still in box. #diabetesburnout,” tweeted user AndreaWrape.

Long before Twitter arrived, Dr. William H. Polonsky, PhD coined the term “diabetes burnout” in his 1999 book, Diabetes Burnout: What To Do When You Can’t Take It Anymore. Today, Twitter is one of the many online tools that can help you deal with burnout, confirmed Dr. Polonsky, who shared which types of online diabetes support technology are the most helpful for dealing with diabetes burnout.

Getting the right kind of support

“By my definition of diabetes burnout, most people are probably in greater, immediate need of emotional support than they are in need of behavioral management,” said Polonsky. “Behavior management is a great idea and is useful for anybody, but typically you want to seek emotional support beforehand.” lists 160 diabetes mobile applications for the iPhone. How many are for diabetes management? Most of them.

“Most of my patients know what to do, they just don’t have the oomph to do it,” said Polonsky, who cautions anyone experiencing burnout from becoming more overwhelmed by technological solutions, especially 160 possible solutions. “When a person is overwhelmed or freaked out about diabetes, you probably don’t need anybody–online or in person–giving you a long list of tips you can try.”

“People who are burned out end up feeling like it’s all their fault or they’re bad people or wonder what’s wrong with them,” explained Polonsky. “If done well, it makes eminent sense that these sorts of social media connections could be helpful. Once you know you’re not the only one, once you know you’re not a bad person, once you know it’s normal to go through a tough time, it gets easier.”

Best online support for diabetes burnout

Technology can extend emotional support and acceptance beyond an online forum. Status updates via Twitter and Facebook can help you connect with other individuals with diabetes and allow you to advertise your own self-care efforts. Facebook hosts several diabetes support groups and many cities have diabetes support groups. The Behavioral Diabetes Institute, founded by Polonsky who is also the organization’s CEO, is currently developing live, Skype-based support groups to help those suffering from burnout.

Technology brings people together easily, which is critical for successfully dealing with burnout. “Evidence suggests that one of the things that work best is when you don’t have to do it alone and when you have people in your life who are rooting for you and supporting you and know what you are trying to do–maybe even make changes with you. We know that’s when people are more likely to be successful. And we know when you are surrounded by other people who are trying to make similar healthy changes, you’re more likely to be successful as well; it can actually be wonderfully contagious,” said Polonsky.

Online, mobile and social media technologies have created communities that simply weren’t possible in 1999 when Polonsky legitimized “diabetes burnout.” No matter where you are or the condition of your local support system, you can access online communities with members, like you, who deal with the disease on daily basis, sometimes struggle to find a sense of hope and want to share their frustrations with someone, like you, who understands.

 The best way to prevent or slow diabetes-related complications is by achieving good control over blood glucose levels with healthy lifestyle changes, insulin, and other medications. An estimated three out of five Americans with diabetes have one or more complications associated with diabetes, according to the 2006 report released by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). Over time, high blood glucose levels can cause damage to virtually every organ system of the body: The central nervous system, vision, cardiovascular, kidney, skin, sexual, teeth and gums, musculoskeletal, cognitive, and digestive systems. To stay on top of your diabetes management and lower your risk of diabetic complications, you should know your ABCs – your A1c level, your blood pressure, and your cholesterol profile.
About Diabetic Complications
An estimated three out of five Americans with diabetes (57.9 percent) have one or more complications associated with diabetes.
Blood sugar highs and lows can cause problems with memory and other brain functions.
Read here to learn about the vision complications that can accompany diabetes.
Hearing Loss
Learn why hearing loss is now considered to be another complication of diabetes.
Oral Care
Get information about diabetic dental problems and oral care.
Heart & Vascular
Heart disease is a leading cause of death among people with diabetes. Get informed about your risk, and preventing heart problems, now.
Learn the signs, symptoms, and treatments for gastroparesis, a diabetic complication of the digestive system.
Chronic high blood glucose can cause skin problems in people with diabetes. See more about the varying conditions.
Diabetes is the number one cause of chronic kidney (or renal) failure in the U.S. Learn more.
Muscles & Bones
Blood glucose that is poorly controlled for too long can affect the functioning of the musculoskeletal system resulting in a variety of disorders.
Nerve Damage
The biggest risk factor for developing neuropathy is uncontrolled blood glucose levels, and the incidence of neuropathy in diabetes increases with time.
Sex & Relationships
The physical and psychological affects of diabetes can hurt the sex drives and performance of both men and women.
Sleep Issues
Not only does sleep rest your body and refresh your mind, but a solid night`s sleep is crucial to good diabetes health.
Out of sight, almost out of mind. Nerve damage and wounds of the feet are a common diabetes complication.
November is Diabetes Month

Top Ten Ways to Observe Diabetes Month

November is American Diabetes Month, and it’s never been easier to take part in spreading diabetes awareness and education. Following are ten simple ways to shine a spotlight on diabetes this month.

1) Declare. Share. Move Forward.  Confession is good for the soul. Take the opportunity to declare your diabetes transgressions, share with others, and then move forward towards better diabetes control. Start your declaration here.

2) Big Blue Test.  Take part in the Big Blue Test. Test your blood sugar, exercise, test again, and share the results. You’ll help yourself and help others; a donation of life saving diabetes supplies is made when you enter your results. Do the Big Blue Test here.

3) Blue Fridays. Put on your blue jeans, blue suede shoes, and any other blue duds each Friday and let others know you are dressing for diabetes awareness. Find out how others are participating.

4) Diabetes Postcard Exchange.  Let your artistic side shine through and take part in the World Diabetes Day postcard exchange. Art therapist and dLife Community Moderator Lee Ann Thill has details.

5) Organize a Flash Mob. If you visit YouTube or watch TV, you’ve probably seen flash mobs of people spontaneously gathering to dance, sing, or even pillow fight. Organize your own flash mob to recognize diabetes awareness (group blood sugar testing, anyone?). The International Diabetes Foundation  (IDF) has more details

6) Get a Mani/Pedi. Now you can polish up your nails with the colors of diabetes awareness from Tips4Type1. When you purchase polish, a donation is made to the Diabetes Research Institute. Details here.

7) Be a Part of D-Blog Day. Even if you aren’t a blogger, you can participate. This year project leader Gina Capone is going old school and asking for scrapbook entries. Find out more

8) Take the Stop Diabetes Pledge. Visit the American Diabetes Association’s Facebook page to take the Stop Diabetes Pledge.

9) Light up a Building.  Ask your community leaders to light up a local landmark in blue on World Diabetes Day. Then register your building with the IDF’s “Monument Challenge.”

10)  Start your own Tradition.  The sky is the limit. Come up with your own unique way to observe diabetes month, and then share with us!  If it catches on, we may list it here next year.


Information provided by dLife

I want to take a moment and explain a few things about my blog and the month of  November.  As you may have already read, November is both Epilepsy Awareness Month and Diabetes Awareness Month.  I am a huge advocate of getting the word out about these two conditions, because raising awareness is so important.

As you may already know, my son has both epilepsy and diabetes, along with a few other health issues.  Every day we deal with the symptoms and treatment issues of both epilepsy and diabetes. 

Epilepsy is something that is always at the back of your mind.  In the grocery store, at school, in the car, at the restaurant or while playing outside.  A seizure could happen at any moment.  Think about the number of people a person interacts with every day.  In the example of my son, on a typical day he interacts with his parents, the school bus driver, the other children riding the bus.  The eight teachers he has at school.  The students that are in his eight classes.  The 400 students in his grade.  The children in the neighbor hood.  The parents of the children in the neighborhood.  The people in the grocery store.  I think you are getting the idea.  My son interacts with many people on a daily basis.  Now if a seizure happens, look at how important it is for the general public to be more aware about the facts of epilepsy.  If not, would they know what to do if they encountered my son and he was having a seizure

The other daily reminder of  epilepsy is the medication.  First of all there can be many pills that you have to take.  My son’s current medication regime is 3 pills in the morning and 6 pills in the evening. Then you add to this situation the side affects of the medications.  The biggest side effect is the impact the drugs have on his memory, which  is not as sharp as it should be, and secondly the drugs make him tired.  Imagine going to work and not being able to remember very well and the constant feeling of tiredness.  Now do it for 365 days a year.  It is a tough life.

I know this is a lot of detail, but hang in there with me.  I am trying to simulate the effect and make a point.

Diabetes is pretty much the same way, except it is not at the back of your mind.  It is always there in your face.  Keep in mind the number of individuals he interacts with every day.  On a daily basis he has to manage his diabetes.  Upon waking in the morning he does a glucose test.  A poke on the finger.  If the blood sugar is higher than 300 he does a ketone test.   Then we discuss what he is going to eat for breakfast.  We calculate the carbs.  Depending on what his sugar level is we determine the correct insulin dosage and the meal bolus dosage.  We measure the insulin.  He gives himself an injection in the stomach. 

Giving himself an injection has its own protocol too.  The first thing you need to do is evaluate if he has had an insulin shot in the last three hours.  If so he can not have an insulin shot until three hours pass.  If, for some reason he eats before the three hours is up, the clock starts over and he needs to wait another three hours before he can have a shot. 

Then there is a whole process with the injection itself.  First we make sure we are using his fast acting insulin (he also has a slow acting insulin).  If he is using a syringe I have to first measure the amount of insulin dosage and then inject the air into the insulin vial, which has been wiped to ensure the opening of the vial is clean.  Then I draw into the syringe the dosage amount.  I check to make sure there are no air bubbles.  Meanwhile my son is identifying where he wants to take the shot and ensures it is clean.  He then gives himself the injection, pausing with the needle inside of  him, to ensure the insulin does not come out when the needle is removed.  Then the syringe and the needle are put into a container that is used to contain hazardous medical  items, such as needles.

Please hang in there, just a little bit more.

Now  if he is using a pen to give the injection, which is his preference, this is a different process.  I have to first evaluate whether the pen has enough insulin in the vial to give the shot.  Then my son gets the needle to put onto the pen and removes the safety plastic covers on the needle.  Then we prime the pen to ensure there are no air bubbles.  Then we dial the pen to the correct insulin dosage.  While this is being done my son is finding a spot to give the shot and ensure that spot is clean.  He takes the injection and pauses, a little bit long than when he uses a syringe.  Then uses the tool that is used to remove the needle from the pen, and then disposes the needle in the hazardous container.

After he has his injection and eats breakfast , he goes to school and while he is at school he must be cognizant of how his body feels every moment of the day.  He is always on guard to the sensation of having a low blood sugar, which could be very dangerous.  He can ususally tell if it is low because his body shakes and his legs feel funny.  If he feels it is low he has to get to the medical office at school, do a glucose test (another prick of the finger), and if it is low eat something that has 15 carbs. Then he waits 15 minutes and does a glucose test again (another prick of the finger) to ensure it is no longer low.  If it is still low the process repeats itself:  eat, prick the finger, wait 15 minutes, prick the finger for a retest.   He typically has low blood sugar 2 or 4 times a week.  Finally he goes back to class. 

Then lunch comes.  He heads to the medical office, does a glucose test (another prick of the finger), the nurse calculates his carbs for his lunch and evaluates the glucose test to see if he needs an adjustment.  The nurse monitors him measuring the dosage of the insulin.  He gives himself the shot and disposes the needle.  And then he needs to rush off to lunch because he can’t afford the time.  The insulin will be taking effect within 15 minutes and will be dropping his blood sugar level.  There is no waiting in line to eat lunch because he needs to eat right away.  At lunch he needs to eat exactly what he told the nurse he was going to eat.  So he has no opportunity to add some food he sees in the cafeteria because it hasn’t been accounted for in the calculation of his insulin dosage.  If he did eat something and did not take insulin to counter it,  it would send his glucose high, which doesn’t feel very good and also can  be dangerous. 

Back to class he goes and soon it is time to get to the bus to go home.  Before getting on the bus he heads back to the medical office to take a glucose test (another prick of the finger).  The purpose of this test is to make sure he does not have any issues while he is on the school bus for the 45 minute drive until he gets home.  If the results of the test are too high he takes a correction shot.  The nurse reviews the test results, measures the dosage amount of insulin, and my son gives himself an injection.  Or if it is low he eats some carbs to counter affect the low blood sugar, which repeats the whole low blood sugar process, eat, wait 15 minutes retest.

We almost through the day.  Please keep reading.

When he gets home, which is at about 3:15, he likes to have a snack.  Now it would be great to have a “free” snack, which is a food item or beverage that has less than 5 carbohydrates.  If you eat a free food you don’t have to take an insulin shot.  Right now the only free food he likes is sugar-free popsicles and gum.  Typically he choses to not have a snack so that he can avoid a finger prick and a shot of insulin

Eventually dinner rolls around.  Once again we test the glucose (another prick of the finger).  Evaluate the glucose level and identify whether a correction is needed.  Determine what he is going to eat.  Count the carbs.  Determine the number of units of insulin needed.  We do the whole shot preparation thing.  He gives himself an injection and hurries off to eat.

Then in the evening he takes a shot of a different kind of insulin which is long-lasting.  And finally before he sleeps we check his sugar level (another finger poke).  If his levels have been running high for several days in a row, we also wake up at 3:00 a.m. in the morning to ensure it is not high or low.  If it is low he has to eat something.  Wait 15 minutes.  retest (another finger poke).  If it is high we calculate a correction dosage and he gives himself an injection.

Take a deep breath.  The end is near.

This long description seems to  be a bit tedious.  I apologize if you were bored, but please take a moment to look back at the post you just read.  Look at all of the text that is in red.  The red represents each moment on every day of his life that epilepsy and diabetes has directly affected his day-to-day life.  Keep also in mind,  this description doesn’t count the emotional impact of these health issues.  He worries about his health.  He worries about the social stigma.  He faces bullying.  He is constantly on alert waiting for something bad to happen, and hoping it doesn’t happen.  This happens 365 days of the year.  And then, most importantly,  he tries to lead a “normal” life.

Now you may understand why I care so much about raising awareness for epilepsy and diabetes.  Rasing awareness helps my son and hopefully will provide a better life for him.  Raising awareness will hopefully get more people interested in supporting the medical research that is needed.  Raising awareness may bring a cure to my son.

So take the time to learn about epilepsy and diabetes.  Become more aware.  Care enough to help us find a cure. 

Thanks for being patient.  The month of November is important to me.  Let it be important to you too.  It is greatly appreciated.

What is Type 1 Diabetes

Posted: November 16, 2011 in Epilepsy
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Diabetes (medically known as diabetes mellitus) is the name given to disorders in which the body has trouble regulating its blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a disorder of the body’s immune system — that is, its system for protecting itself from viruses, bacteria or any “foreign” substances. Type 1 diabetes diagnosed in adults over 30 may be Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA), sometimes known as Type 1.5 diabetes. LADA is often misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes because of age; however people with LADA do not have insulin resistance like those with type 2. LADA is characterized by age, a lack of family history of type 2 diabetes, a gradual increase in insulin requirements, positive antibodies, and decreasing ability to make insulin as indicated by a low C-peptide. A fourth and very rare form of diabetes, called monogenic diabetes, is also sometimes mistaken for type 1 diabetes but typically strikes newborns.


Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas, an organ about the size of a hand that is located behind the lower part of the stomach. These cells — called beta cells — are contained, along with other types of cells, within small islands of endocrine cells called the pancreatic islets. Beta cells normally produce insulin, a hormone that helps the body move the glucose contained in food into cells throughout the body, which use it for energy. But when the beta cells are destroyed, no insulin can be produced, and the glucose stays in the blood instead, where it can cause serious damage to all the organ systems of the body.

For this reason, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin in order to stay alive. This means undergoing multiple injections daily, or having insulin delivered through an insulin pump, and testing their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day. People with diabetes must also carefully balance their food intake and their exercise to regulate their blood sugar levels, in an attempt to avoid hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions, which can be life threatening.

The warning signs of type 1 diabetes include extreme thirst; frequent urination; drowsiness or lethargy; sugar in urine; sudden vision changes; increased appetite; sudden weight loss; fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath; heavy, labored breathing; stupor; and unconsciousness.

Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults. Scientists do not yet know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes, but they believe that autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors are involved. 


Information provided by JDRF: