Know the diabetic warning signs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Know the diabetic warning signs

October 25, 2007

Albany  --  It is a rare and in some cases deadly disease that will affect over ten thousand children this year alone. Type 1 or Juvenile Diabetes has no known cure and can occur suddenly, even in children as young as five.

Tashe Robinson was a healthy and active 17-year-old, until she took a sudden turn for the worse. "I was throwing up, sleeping all the time, I had blurred vision, I couldn't remember anything, and all I wanted to do was sleep."

Robinson, now 19, was nearing a diabetic coma when diagnosed with Type 1 or Juvenile Diabetes. A disease that occurs when the body no longer produces insulin.

"We really don't know what causes it. We have found through some research is that some sort of viral infection attacks the area of the pancreas that produces insulin. And that's what Type 1 diabetes is; it's when your pancreas does not make insulin anymore," said RN, CDE, Heather O'Connor, of Phoebe Diabetes Care Center.

Some of the early warning signs of type 1 diabetes include frequent urination, increased thirst or hunger, unexplained weight loss, and blurred vision. These are side effects of the body not producing insulin crucial to vital organs.

Dr. Bruce Smith with Southwest Georgia Pediatrics agrees that parents should not overlook these symptoms in children and young adults. "So usually these symptoms have been going on for less than a month when a child gets kidosdocis. This is when they start feeling terrible and having headaches, and it's like they have a major case of the flu."

Type 1 or Juvenile Diabetes is a rare but serious disease, that is why catching those warning signs early are crucial to one's survival.

"If you understand that this may occur in just a matter or two weeks or a month, and they are already getting in trouble, because once the blood sugar start getting to 400, it starts making your brain swell. You don't have a lot of time to find out what it is and start treatment," said Dr. Smith.

Tashe's mother knows all too well just how precious time can be. "My main thing was just to get her to the hospital because she probably wouldn't be here if I hadn't," she said.

A decision she is thankful for today.

Type 1 Diabetes is not always hereditary and can develop in men and women up to 30 years of age. An estimated 17 million Americans have diabetes, however 90 percent of those cases are Type 2.

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