At the age of five, I experienced my mom going into diabetic shock for the first time. I awoke on a normal kindergarten morning to find her still lying in bed, even though the digital clock told me she was running late for work. As my older sister and I tried to coax my mom awake, we realized that she was having one of the scary episodes that Dad always handled- an insulin reaction. With my dad already on his way to work, we watched in fear as her eyes rolled back and she spoke unidentifiable words. Then it hit me - Dad had always told me that peanut butter toast was the magic diabetes cure. My sister stood next to my mom in a panic while I ran to the kitchen to find a stool that would boost me up to reach the toaster and peanut butter. Mom always said that I was much too little to use a knife so with my hand, I smeared a glob of peanut butter onto a piece of toast and ran back to the bedroom. After force-feeding my mom bites, her blood sugar rose and she came to. My sister and I could finally breathe again.
Type-1 diabetes, or juvenile diabetes, affects both children and adults at any age. Each year, more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults - approximately 80 per day - are diagnosed with type-1 diabetes in the U.S. To put that in perspective of cost, T1 diabetes accounts for $14.9 billion in healthcare costs in the U.S. each year (Juvenille Diabetes Research Foundation). Those numbers make it clear that type-1 diabetes management is crucial. Just as important is type-2 diabetes prevention and management. In 2012 the total cost of diagnosed diabetes, including type-1 and type-2, reached a record high of $245 billion. It is evident that type-2 diabetes is far more common, and actually accounts for 90-95 percent of diabetes diagnoses in America (American Diabetes Association). The two main causes of type-2 diabetes are obesity and lack of exercise, so the first steps in prevention are weight management and regular physical activity.
Although my mom has lived with type-1 diabetes since she was 12 years-old, it is a constant battle to manage her diabetes. It is imperative to seek help if you are struggling to manage diabetes, experiencing pre-diabetes, or if you need assistance with prevention. Specialists in the South Sound 2-1-1 Center refer callers who may be at risk for diabetes to Diabetes Prevention Education courses within their areas. They also refer callers to places that can provide diabetes testing, and clinics that can diagnose and treat diabetes. South Sound 2-1-1 refers individuals who already have diabetes to local clinics, support groups, senior centers that provide foot care, and programs that provide financial assistance for medication and supplies. Resources like recreational programs and camps for children with type-1 diabetes are also available.
If you or a loved one would like to receive more information on how to prevent or manage type-2 diabetes, or how to manage type-1 diabetes, contact the South Sound 2-1-1 Center by calling 2-1-1 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. They are happy to mail educational brochures out to callers upon request.