At the age of 5, my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. The doctor said, “Your life is about to change forever.” As my husband, my daughter and I walked into the emergency room, I wondered what he meant. I began to freak out. It wasn’t what the doctor said; it was how he said it. I truly had no idea what we were in for.
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Simple answer, Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
What Is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas giving our cells energy. The individual with Type 1 Diabetes must take insulin to counter the effects that excess glucose has in the bloodstream. Too much glucose in the blood stream can be toxic.
Why Is Glucose in Our Blood Stream Toxic?
Glucose coats red blood cells, causing them to become stiff or sticky. Overtime, blood builds up in the blood vessels (Cholesterol) leading to major health problems including nerve damage in the feet and hands, vision problems, heart attack and stroke, just to name a few.
How does a child develop Type 1 Diabetes?
Simple answer: No one knows exactly. What doctors and sciences do know is Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. At one point during a child’s development, the body’s immune system attacks the cells of the pancreas that secrete insulin. The baby is born with a defect in the immune system. Genetics from both parents may have generated the defect; this is why occasionally diabetes affects more than one sibling. A “trigger” is also necessary to activate Type 1 Diabetes. An exposure to certain viruses or a traumatic experience the child underwent could trigger the immune system to attack. Several potential triggers have been identified, though they still do not completely understand the process.
What Is Being Done?
News just came out of the scientific community. In an article published February 21, 2013, by Darrin S. Joy “Curing type 1 diabetes: The Secret may be in the Sauce,” scientists are one-step closer in producing an important cell that could cure Type 1 Diabetes.
“The cells would be transplanted into diabetic patients to produce insulin and regain control of blood sugar levels,” Joy said in the article.
The last year and a half our lives have changed. The funny thing is they’ve changed for the better. My family has become very close. Relying on one another for support is important. I applaud my daughter’s elementary school for helping her have a normal life outside my home.