by Katie Little, Institute Fellow
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month which seemed like the perfect opportunity to kick off a new blog, Chronically Growing with Diabetes. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 12, and have learned a lot in my 22 years of living with it. Diabetes has impacted my life in a huge way, and I have made a conscious decision to look at much of it positively. Not only do I live with it personally, I also have family members, friends, and co-workers living with diabetes. Additionally I researched the diabetes camp community and camp staff for my thesis, and have worked at multiple nonprofit organizations that serve people with diabetes and their families.
I hope this blog posts create a space for those living with diabetes, those loving someone with diabetes, and those working with or serving someone with diabetes. All are welcome as we share knowledge, information, and life experiences while trying to navigate the highs and lows of diabetes.
Each week, I will share some diabetes specific terms and their definitions to encourage our growing knowledge of diabetes. The word “diabetes” gets tossed around a lot in daily conversation, media, and most recently in news related to Coronavirus and its effect on those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes. Diabetes is a general term that gets used, but oftentimes the specific type of diabetes is not mentioned. For individuals living with diabetes, this can evict some strong emotions. We will talk more about these strong emotions in future blog posts, but for now, it is important to know from a baseline perspective that “diabetes” is much more than a word. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights the three main types of diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, and Gestational Diabetes (diabetes while pregnant). For the purpose of this blog post, we are going to focus on Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes have some similarities but are diagnosed, treated, and managed daily in different ways.
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, the hormone that controls blood glucose (also called blood sugar) levels. Type 1 Diabetes may occur at any age. There is nothing anyone can do to prevent Type 1 Diabetes and currently there is no known cure.
Type 2 Diabetes occurs when one’s body does not use insulin, the hormone that controls blood glucose (also called blood sugar) properly. When the body does not properly use the insulin it makes, this is called insulin resistance, which keeps the blood glucose from staying at normal levels. Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.
My hope is that we can continue to grow in our knowledge and education as we consider Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in our lives. Join us next Sunday as we highlight various diabetes medications and insulin therapies.