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Common questions September 28, 2009

Posted by aydensmom in Uncategorized.
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I recently read a tweet from somebody that said “People who give out too much info… so annoying, why do I care if you’re a type 1 diabetic?” It was just a high school kid, but it really struck a chord with me becasue I hope as Ayden gets older he can be open about it and isn’t judged. As far as I’m concerned, the more people who know about it – the more people who can understand if he has a high or a low and can help.  

This is step two though. Step one is knowing about it and asking questions to find out more. So below are some answers to common questions I hear without the medical mumbo jumbo.

What is Type 1 diabetes?
Ayden’s body can not produce the hormone insulin. This means that he can’t process carbohydrates into the energy his body needs to function.  This is very detrimental to his health.

With out the absorbtion of carbohydrates, his body will start to use fat to power him.  The fat will break down into acids that are released into his system. These acids destroy his organs and eventually kill him. Insulin prevents this.

What is insulin?
It is the medicine Ayden has to take everyday, either by injection or insulin pump, to help absorb the carbohydrates he consumes. Insulin esentially changes the carbohydrates he eats into energy. But it is a fine balance between having too much insulin in his system and having too many carbohydrates in his system.

What is a low/crash?
This means that Ayden has too much insulin in his system and/or not enough carbohydrates. So his numbers are falling, sometimes to dangerous levels. Because of his age Ayden should maintain his levels between five and 10. If he drops below four, this is a treatable low. In this case, we give him apple juice to bring his levels up. The apple juice gives the insulin in his system something to work on, and if it works the first time it will bring his levels back in line within 15 minutes.

A low will cause Ayden to behave strangely. A diabetic suffering from a low can not think straight, and may appear sweaty and confused.

What is a high/spike?
When Ayden has too many carbohydrates in his system and not enough insulin his numbers can spike. If his numbers go over 15 for too long a period, which before the pump was often, his body might start breaking down the fat for energy. Releasing the acids into his system. When you hear about Diabetic Ketoacidosis, DKA, or a diabetic that was accidentally diagnosed as being drunk because of the fruity smell to their breath, this is what is happening to them.  Extra insulin should be given in order to absorb the extra carbohydrates and prevent the body from breaking down the fat.

A high will cause Ayden to get sick. Higher levels bring on stomach aches and headaches. But if he starts shooting ketones (starting DKA) he will act out, appear angary or confused and may not respond to questions or directions.

What do you do to help an unresponsive diabetic?
If you ever encounter a diabetic that is unresponsive, call 911. You can not determine if they need sugar or insulin with out doing a glucose test, which they may not let you do as they won’t be thinking straight. The most effective and safest way to help them is by getting them medical attention.

If you have any other questions, I’d be happy to answer them. Awareness is key. The more people who know, the more people who can help a diabetic in need.

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