By Angela, Providence employee and Type 1 Diabetes mom
Evan’s “D” Day
It was December 30, 2012. Evan, our smart and super active 7-year-old, was complaining of an unquenchable thirst and more trips to the bathroom than usual. We had a hunch and took him to our local walk-in clinic on a Sunday afternoon. Our hunch was confirmed: Evan was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
No, Type 1 Diabetes doesn’t run in our family. And, although you’re at greater risk for developing Type 1 Diabetes if an immediate family member (parent, sibling, first cousin, grandparent) has it, experts believe Type 1 Diabetes often happens when both parents carry a particular gene. Their child inherits this combination of genes. Then, the child experiences some sort of autoimmune “event” – like a virus – and the body responds by attacking the pancreas. The result: Type 1 Diabetes.
Inpatient Education and Training
After Evan’s diagnosis at the walk-in clinic, he was immediately admitted to Seattle Children’s Hospital for three days of intense inpatient education and training. Our entire family – including Evan and his 10-year-old sister – learned about correcting high blood sugar and counting and “covering” (with insulin) the carbohydrates Evan ate.
Correcting and Covering
That’s how Type 1 Diabetes works. A patient checks his blood sugar (also called “blood glucose level”) with a finger poke and a blood glucose meter. If his blood sugar is out of his normal range, he uses an individualized formula to determine how much additional insulin he needs to help process the glucose and bring his blood sugar down.
Eating carbohydrates automatically adds glucose to the blood. So, a person with Type 1 Diabetes has to track his carb intake and use a second individualized formula to determine how much additional insulin he needs to “cover” the glucose that’s added to his body from food.
That’s a lot of math. But, that’s how a person with Type 1 Diabetes figures out how to dose his insulin – something he does several times a day.
Also during our stay, we learned how to give injections, how to respond to dangerous ultra-low and ultra-high blood sugar levels, how to factor in exercise and much, much more.
In tomorrow’s blog post, learn more about how Evan and his family have adjusted to their “new normal.” And, get a glimpse into a day in the life of a young person with Type 1 Diabetes.
For More Information
To learn more about Type 1 Diabetes, talk to your Providence Medical Group primary care provider, visit the Providence online health library or visit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or American Diabetes Association website.
If you’re a Providence Medical Group patient who’s been diagnosed with diabetes, you have an expert resource in Nancy Churchill Lowell, our Certified Diabetes Educator. Nancy is a registered dietitian and works with patients at Providence Medical Group clinics throughout the county. Her services are referral based, so be sure to talk to your primary care provider or endocrinologist if you think you could benefit from her expertise. And, read her blog post about how diabetes care and treatment has changed since her grandmother was diagnosed in the 1940s.