Diabetes is a disorder in which the body has trouble regulating its blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. There are two major types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a disorder of the body's immune system, that is, its system for protecting itself from viruses, bacteria or any "foreign" substances.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas, an organ about the size of a hand that is located behind the lower part of the stomach. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin in order to stay alive. This means undergoing multiple injections daily, or having insulin delivered through an insulin pump, and testing their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day.
People with diabetes must also carefully balance their food intake and their exercise to regulate their blood sugar levels, in an attempt to avoid hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions, which can be life threatening.
The systems of type 1 diabetes include extreme thirst, frequent urination, drowsiness or lethargy, sugar in urine, sudden vision changes, increased appetite, sudden weight loss, fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath, heavy, labored breathing, stupor, and unconsciousness.
Generally, type 1 diabetes is diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults. Scientists do not yet know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. The condition impacts lifestyle in many ways.
Peyton Walker, 6, who attends Bryan Elementary school in Nevada, was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes in January 2004.
His parents, Bonnie and Jay Radspinner, Nevada, noticed Peyton's behavior had changed. He was drinking obsessively, acting stubborn, disoriented, tired, and dizzy. The Radspinners took Peyton to the doctor, thinking this was just a bladder infection. That's when the unsuspecting family found out Peyton had juvenile diabetes. Since then, the family has spent much time at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, taking classes and treating this disease.
Bonnie Radspinner said, "Children's Mercy was very nice and helpful though this whole ordeal."
Peyton's favorite classes in school are PE and reading. Also he enjoys watching race cars and working on them with his step-dad. He also enjoys playing with his toys and watching football, especially watching the San Francisco 49ers, when Jerry Rice was playing.
Peyton said, "Jerry Rice was a awesome receiver."
Peyton has to check his blood sugar at least six to eight times a day and receive insulin shots four to six times a day. At the beginning of the school year Peyton and the school nurse, Cora Anderson, talked to Peyton's class about Juvenile Diabetes. Peyton showed everyone the machine and Anderson spoke about the disease.
Peyton did not like having to go to the nurses office every time he needed to check his blood sugar because he hated missing class, so now Peyton has a station set up in his classroom so he can check his blood sugar without having to leave the room. This way he will not have to miss any time to check his blood sugar. If Peyton has to go to the nurse's office to receive treatment, he always come right back and catches up with the rest of the class.
Amanda Eaton, Peyton's teacher, said, "Peyton is very self-sufficient and knows when he needs to check his blood sugar."
When Peyton's blood sugar is low he can usually just eat something with sugar, he enjoys Skittles. He then follows it up with a staple such as crackers and milk. If his blood sugar is to high, he has to exercise and if that does not help he will have to have an extra insulin shot. Peyton cannot receive shots in his arm anymore because of the tissues, so he receives them in the stomach.
Peyton has to watch his diet, especially during the holiday season and at birthday parties, For example, at Halloween, or at school parties, he may have to have an extra shot or avoid certain foods. He cannot eat a normal fast-food meal, he has to watch what it is he eats and how much. Peyton is able to count up his carbohydrates to see what he can and cannot eat. He also has to drink a lot of diet soda and water.
Peyton and is parents hope in the very near future they will be able to use an insulin pump, which is a device for delivering insulin about the size of a deck of cards, that can be worn on a belt or kept in a pocket.
An insulin pump connects to narrow, flexible plastic tubing that ends with a needle inserted just under the skin.
Users set the pump to give a steady trickle or basal amount of insulin continuously, throughout the day.
Pumps release bolus doses of insulin (several units at a time) at meals and at times when blood glucose is too high, based on programming input by the user.