Two weeks ago Uncle Bud admitted to the coffee club that he knew very little about diabetes. Well, you guessed it; he has done his homework. As we arrived this morning he was more than ready to share what he had learned. The smile on his face let us know he had something important on his mind. After a friendly good morning he asks us, “What is diabetes”? No one tried to answer because we him wanted to share with us what he had learned.
So he began; Diabetes is a disease where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or is unable to respond the way it should for the insulin produced. (According to the free dictionary by Farlex, insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that acts to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood by causing cells, especially liver and muscle cells, to absorb glucose from the bloodstream) Over a period of time this will result in high blood sugar. He told us there are different types of Diabetes with Type 1 and 2 being the most common forms and that both impact glucose levels and when left untreated other complications may develop.
At this point one guy suggested that Uncle Bud discuss Type 1 with us this morning, reminding him that some of us have to be at work soon. We all agreed this would be a good plan. Fran ask him to start with Type 1 Diabetes because that is what she was diagnosed with a few weeks ago.
He began telling us that while Type 1 Diabetes is most commonly diagnosed from infancy to late 30s it can occur at any age. When a person is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes it means their pancreas produces little or no insulin and that the body’s immune system destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. If diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes you may need insulin several times a day. Some people use an injection while others us an infusion insulin pump. Either way it is important to manage your diet and develop good exercise habits. (Never missing a point to be “Uncle Coach” he spent several minutes talking about exercise before moving on)
By this time the group understood that when someone is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes it affects the entire family. However, as serious as Diabetes is we were learning that it is not unmanageable.
At this point Fran shared with us the importance of not ignoring warning signs of Type 1 Diabetes. She reminded us that when she was diagnosed she had mistaken the symptoms as the flu. She had learned that other warning may include:
Lethargy and drowsiness
Sudden vision changes
Sudden weight loss
Breath odor (fruity, wine-like, or sweet)
Heavy or labored breathing
Stupor or unconsciousness
These are not the only signs but they are signs we can notice ourselves. Both Fran and Uncle Bud told us, again, how important it is to let your doctor know if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. It was about time to leave the coffee shop when someone asks Uncle Bud if he would share information on Type 2 diabetes soon. With that request we left his as we found him, with a smile on his face.