My sister sent me a text the other day. She was sitting in a lobby waiting for her son to finish his music lesson. She couldn't believe the conversation that was going on in an adjacent conference room. There was a woman addressing a group of people. My sister's best eavesdropping guestimate was that this woman was holding some sort of training for home health care givers. And these are quotes that my sister overheard...
"People have diabetes because we've been fed too many fatty, sugary foods over time and it has depleted our insulin stores."WRONG.
"People are born with type 1 diabetes or develop type 2 later in life."Again. WRONG...on both accounts. My sister couldn't believe her ears. Her next text to me read "I'm about to pop in and correct her!" But wait, the "training" continues...
"That's why its important to keep those honey buns away from your grandma!"At this point, I am texting furiously back begging my sister to "pop in AND pop HER!" I so badly wanted to drive over and do some educating of my own.
I guess, in all fairness, I should say that I don't really blame the people who don't know the facts about type 1 diabetes...or even that there are two kinds. I really didn't know before Ally's diagnosis. It's no wonder that there are so many misconceptions about diabetes though, if there are people "training" others who don't even have it straight.
Diabetes Fact #1: Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.
Diabetes Fact #2: No one knows exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. However, it IS known that it is NOT caused by poor diet or lack of exercise. Scientists believe that both genetic and environmental factors are involved.
Diabetes Fact #3: Type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, can strike at ANY age.
Diabetes Fact #4: Type 1 diabets can occur suddenly and causes a dependence on insulin for life. Until there is a cure.
Diabetes Fact #5: To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes must take multiple insulin injections daily or continually infuse insulin through an insulin pump.
Diabetes Fact #6: People with type 1 diabetes must test their blood sugar 6 or more times a day by pricking their fingers. Ally's fingers look dirty - but when you look closer you see tons of tiny holes.
Diabetes Fact #7: While trying to balance insulin doses with food intake, daily exercise and activities, people with Type 1 Diabetes must still always be prepared for serious hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions which can be life threatening.
Diabetes Fact #8: While insulin injections or infusions allow a person with type 1 diabetes to stay alive, insulin does NOT CURE diabetes.
Diabetes Fact #9: No matter how diligent a person with type 1 diabetes manages their disease, bad things can still happen. Simply injecting insulin and counting carbohydrates does not necessarily prevent complications.
Diabetes Fact #10: Complications of type 1 diabetes include: kidney failure, nerve damage, blindness, amputations, heart attacks, stroke, and pregnancy complications.
Diabetes Fact #11: Other factors that affect a person's ability to tightly control their diabetes include: stress, hormonal changes, periods of growth, physical activity, medications, illness, infections, and fatigue.