Type 1/Type 2 – Do You Know the Difference?
Diabetes Awareness Month 2017
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, with the 14th of November being World Diabetes Day. November 14th is the birthdate of Dr. Fredrick Banting, who helped discover insulin.
Last November, I wrote an article for our blog about parenting a child with Type 1 Diabetes, and how as a family, we work to live well with the diagnosis in our home and fight against misconceptions and stigma.
Well, this year, I’m doubly grateful for insulin, as we were shocked to have another of our children receive the diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes in May of this year.
According to the Joslin Diabetes Center, my children had a 1 in 10 chance of also developing Diabetes after their first sibling was diagnosed. Clearly, those odds worked out in a way we were not anticipating. My third child is being monitored annually through TrialNet to see if they will produce the autoantibodies that indicate Type 1 is potentially developing.
Type 1 Diabetes is a constant balancing of blood sugar levels, carbohydrate intake, exercise, stress, insulin intake, and much more – SO MUCH MORE. It’s often exhausting, and it can be emotionally taxing as well. However, our family has worked really hard this year to find the humour and small moments of joy of living with Type 1. We also do a LOT of math. The photo with this post includes some of our math for every meal my kids eat. Every meal, every snack.
There are some pretty big differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is when your pancreas stops making insulin, and you have to use artifical insulin – delivered either through needles or by insulin pump. I have a child that uses each method. Type 2 is when your body cannot use the insulin your pancreas makes, or doesn’t make enough insulin. My children do get frustrated when the two get confused, as they NEED to eat or drink sugar to keep their blood sugar levels in range. Despite sharing a name, they are quite different in managment and how they can affect your daily life.
Although, one of my kids had the following piece of advice about Diabetes: “don’t let it control your life, but you need to be aware of it all the time”. That’s pretty smart, if you ask me.