At our neighborhood Halloween party I shared with a friend that I had just checked Grasshopper’s blood sugar and it was 41, VERY LOW. He had been jumping on a bounce house and the exercise had quickly brought his blood sugar down. She kindly asked some questions about how I knew to check and I described to her the Dexcom data and why I had checked right then. She asked, “How are you not on edge every day?” I answered, “I am.”
November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Usually the supplies that keep Grasshopper alive are not visible to the world. People may see him, or me, or Mr. Mister, or his school nurse check his blood sugar but only those closest to him see the other paraphernalia that sustains his life. For the month of November we will be filling this pumpkin with the stuff of Grasshopper’s diabetes life. All of this, Novalog insulin, pump supplies, test strips, are NOT a cure. This is the stuff of his his life support.
The blue circle is the international symbol of diabetes per the International Diabetes Federation. Through November we will post updated photos of his monthly diabetes supplies filling up the pumpkin. Normally we immediately put all of these supplies in a sharps container and then tape it up for safe disposal. At the end of the month we will do this for all these supplies as well, but until then we will let the supplies tell the story.
The signs of type 1 diabetes can be unfortunately attributed to the flu, strep, urinary tract infections, and many other ailments. Too often it is misdiagnosed among young children as these illnesses or others. Too often it is misdiagnosed among adults as type 2 diabetes. Please pay attention to these signs and if you see them in a family member, a student, or yourself. Encourage the person to go see their doctor for a blood test or get yourself checked out.
Signs of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include:
- Increased or extreme thirst.
- Increased urination.
- Bed-wetting in children who previously didn’t wet the bed during the night
- Unintended weight loss or failure to gain weight in children.
- Fatigue and weakness.
- Increased appetite.
- Irritability or change in behavior.
- Blurred vision.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
As hyperglycemia develops if it is untreated a person may experience:
- Flushed, hot, dry skin.
- Restlessness, drowsiness, or difficulty waking up.
- Rapid, deep breathing.
- Lack of interest in normal activities in young children.
- A fast heart rate and a weak pulse.
- A strong, fruity breath odor, or breath that smells like acetone (fingernail polish remover).
- Loss of appetite, belly pain, and/or vomiting.
Knowing, recognizing, and acting on these signs can literally save a life. If left untreated, high blood sugar can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), coma and death. A tragic story out of Utah, that of little Kycie, followed exactly that path. I’ll write more on her story in another post.