Kortnie at the 2011 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, Tempe Town Lake, Tempe, AZ

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 5 **SoapBox**

Oh.My.Gosh!  Today's prompt in the Wego Health, National Health Blog Posting Month is Health Activist Soapbox.  So many things come to mind, this should be an easy topic for me to write on, but my brain is a mass of jumbled thoughts.  That is about what a soapbox is, right, sort of like a rant, I kind of always thought of them as that.  Lets see if I can get my jumbled thoughts sorted out and make some sense of this. 

Where do I start?

First, the name Diabetes itself.  It covers so many diseases.  The most common Type 2 Diabetes, the becoming more common Type 1 Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes, LADA or Type 1.5, Pre-Diabetes, Type 3 Diabetes, MODY, Juevenille Diabetes, Diabetes Insipidus, Brittle Diabetes, Double Diabetes, Glucagonoma, Glucose Intolerance, and Steroid Induced Diabetes.  All of these diseases have something in common, some more than others, but a lot of them are very different.  Admittedly, I do not know much about anything other than Type 1 Diabetes, but I HATE when my daughters Diabetes is compared to the other forms of Diabetes, or when the stereotypes of the most common (type 2) Diabetes are implied towards her.

I will attempt to break this down, as simply as I can.

Type 1 Diabetes or DiabetesMellitus Type 1, which is what my daughter has, is an Auto-Immune Disorder.  This means that for some (still) unknown reason, her white blood cells attacked her Pancreas and destroyed the insulin producing beta cells, the cells of lagerhans.  That part of her Pancreas is DEAD, it will never produce insulin again.  At this time there is no cure and no prevention booster shot either.  Everyone needs insulin to live.  Insulin breaks down carbohydrates and turns them into energy, if your body doesn't make insulin then it burns your fat for energy.  A person with Type 1 Diabetes will need to inject insulin into her body, either multiple times a day, or continuously through a pump, for the rest of her life.  Too much insulin can kill you, not enough can make you sick and eventually cause major complications and kill you.  Again, there is no cure for this, diet and exercise, cinnamon, ionized or deionized water, pancreas transplants, none of it will cure Type 1 Diabetes.  NOTHING WILL CURE IT!  She will not grow out of it. I would do anything in the world to take this away from my daughter, but at this time, there is no cure.  Poor eating habits did not cause her to develop this Type 1 Diabetes, see above where I wrote that for some unknown reason her white blood cells attacked her pancreas, too much candy and sweets did not make that happen.

Type 2 Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 is metabolic, the body produces insulin, but does not use it properly.  Type 2 can be managed through a number of things, starting with diet and exercise, moving up to oral medications, and later insulin injections.  There are many factors contributing to the development of Type 2 Diabetes, it can be hereditary or it can be caused by a poor diet, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or just by bad luck.  There are tons of stereotypes surrounding Type 2 Diabetes and lots of jokes, but it is a serious disease, not to be taken lightly.

Gestational Diabetes a pregnancy can cause a woman to have to produce 2 to 3 times the amount of insulin than she needed while not pregnant, sometimes her pancreas can not keep up and this will result in the pregnant woman having High Blood Sugar.  Most of the time Gestational Diabetes can be managed through diet and exercise, sometimes injected insulin.  Most of the time the Gestational Diabetes will go away once the baby is delivered.

Juvenile Diabetes refers to Type 1 Diabetes diagnosed in children and young adults under the age of 25.  This is an antiquated term and is slowly going by the wayside as Type 1 Diabetes is the most proper term.  Besides you get Type 1 Diabetes when you are a juvenile most of the time, but you never grow out of it, you still have it when you are an adult.

Type 3 Diabetes is a form of Alzheimer's, researchers pinpoint insulin resistance to contribute towards Alzheimer's.  This type of Diabetes is very new, more and more research is being done.  I find this kind of exciting because it might bring us closer to a treatment, prevention, or cure for Alzheimer's.  Research is being done to see if we can treat Alzheimer's with diabetes medications, or if with better blood glucose control in Type 2 Diabetics we can stave off the onset or even prevent Alzheimer's from setting in.

LADA or Latent AutoImmune Diabetes in Adults or Type 1.5 Diabetes is a slow onset of diabetes, most often diagnosed in young adulthood.  These patients are often misdiagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, those with LADA have an antibody known as GAD65 which attacks the beta cells in the pancreas.  These patients often appear physically fit and slim, they do not instantly need insulin. 

MODY or Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young  is passed down from parent to child, is diagnosed in the 20's, and has 6 different types.  Basically the pancreas slowly tapers off in producing insulin in these patients.

Diabetes Insipidus or DI is the rarest form of diabetes, it is not related to Diabetes Mellitus. 
Diabetes insipidus occurs when the complex system  that regulates the amount and type of fluid within your body is disrupted.    The system is extremely precise and fluid regulation has a massive impact on health, keeping the fluids balanced by governing thirst, and the kidneys ticking over using ADH (antidiuretic hormone).

Brittle Diabetes Mellitus is often another term for Particularly Hard to Control Type 1 Diabetes or Poorly Controlled Type 2 Diabetes.  Brittle Diabetes has over-frequent and/or extreme blood sugar swings.  It is definitely affected by depression and stress.

Double Diabetes is diagnosed when a person with Type 1 Diabetes develops Insulin Resistance.  Usually this is brought on by obesity.  The treatment would be to keep taking insulin and changing diet to eat fewer carbs and sugars.

Glucagonoma is extremely rare and occurs when a tumor forms on the beta cells causing them to release insulin and glucagon.  This is usually cancerous and mirrors the Type 2 Diabetes and High Blood Sugar Symptoms.

Steroid Induced Diabetes can happen to people who take steroids for long periods of time.  Steroids are used to treat diseases like Asthma, Lupus, Chron's, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Ulcerative Colitis.  Prolonged usage of steroids, like every day for 3 months, can bring on symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes, which may go away after stopping the usage of steroids, but it can also become permanent. 

Can you see why I'm on my soapbox?  All of these different kinds of Diabetes and they all do different things, some of them act the same or have characteristics that are similar, but none of them are the same.  They need a new name for all of them, something different for each!  My head just aches typing this all out, too much to thing about. 

This is what I hate to hear....

Oh, is she diabetic?

Oh, she has a pump (or she does shots)?  It must be the bad kind.

Hopefully she'll grow out of it soon.

Should she be eating that?

Maybe you shouldn't have fed her so much candy when she was a baby.

But she doesn't look fat?

My Grandma had diabetes and had to get her foot cut off.

My cat has diabetes.  or  My dog has Diabetes.

My Uncle used this _______________ and his diabetes was reversed!  Let me give you the info.

Here is a hilarious but fitting video made by Joanne at Death of a Pancreas.  It's called What NOT to say to the parent of a Type 1 Diabetic.  Watch it, be amused, and take it to heart.

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Diabetes Fact of the Day- Know the Warning Signs, you just may save a life


  1. Oh my gosh! that is a lot of variations! I hope that I have never offended you with my questions or comments.

    1. You have never offended me. I know that when you ask something you really want to hear my answer because you want to know and be informed. I don't think you have ever made a comment I didn't like. What makes me crazy is someone making an offhand comment that is sterotypical and when I try to correct them they get offended or don't want to hear it. It's more the random people who make stupid comments that piss me off. Or when someone tells me that they know of a cure and when I tell them, no that will not cure it, they think I just don't want to spend the money or try to fix my kid.

  2. Some people can be so ignorant! ( I dont like that word but i really couldn't think of another word.) They just don't know you, we know you would do anything to "fix" her if possible. You do whatever you can to make her the most comfortable. I think you are one strong mama!