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Juvenile Diabetes Information - Facts and Figures

The facts are:

The American Diabetes Association recommends maintaining an A1C of less than 7% to reduce your risk of long-term complications. If you are within this range, you are guaranteed complications. If you're at 6.5% or lower, you've achieved the level of control recommended by the International Diabetes Federation and American College of Endocrinology. If you're close to the 5.0% mark or below, you're in the range that Dr. Bernstein recommends for his patients. You may wonder how this is possible! We did too - because we were not interested in acquiring any of the following complications. So, we contacted Dr. Bernstein and he taught us - thoroughly - how to manage this disease. To purchase Dr. Bernstein's book (which I HIGHLY recommend), click here.

We are responsible for our own lives - and the lives of our children. Some of the complications that loosely controlled diabetics can look forward to are as follows:   Short Term       Long Term

SHORT TERM COMPLICATIONS

Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Ketones are a by-product of fat metabolism. In children with juvenile diabetes, the body uses fat for energy if insulin is not available to utilize blood glucose. This can result in the toxic accumulation of ketones in the blood — a life threatening condition if not treated promptly. The build up of ketones changes the pH of the blood, making it acidic. If the blood gets too acidic it can lead to severe damage of the body's organs.

The best way to protect against diabetic ketoacidosis is to carefully follow your physician's instructions, which usually are as follows:

  • Monitor blood sugar levels 4 times a day or as recommended.
  • Take insulin therapy shots as prescribed.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise.
  • Balance daily carbohydrate/protein/fat intakes; avoid empty fast food calories.
  • Manage or eliminate stresses through lifestyle changes.

Hypoglycemia: Choosing to ignore the precautions could lead to another complication known as hypoglycemia or insulin shock. If a person has too little food or too much alcohol, the blood's sugar level drops. Become familiar with the symptoms of hypoglycemia and seek immediate medical attention should any occur:

* rapid heartbeat  * confusion  * disorientation  * sweating

Hyperglycemia: Hyperglycemia is the opposite of hypoglycemia: It indicates high blood sugar levels. Like hypoglycemia, it is a common complication that everyone with diabetes experiences at some point. Left unchecked, it can cause the body serious damage. Hyperglycemia is caused by not getting enough insulin or getting the wrong dose, a lack of exercise, eating too many carbohydrates, sickness or emotional stress. Liver sugars can also push blood sugar to dangerous levels.

While hypoglycemia symptoms are likely to be apparent, symptoms of hyperglycemia can be hard to spot. The person suffering from hyperglycemia may not even notice anything is wrong.

Symptoms resulting from high blood sugar levels include:

  • hunger or thirst
  • frequent urination
  • dry skin
  • itchy skin
  • sleepiness
  • high rates of infection
  • blurred vision
  • diminished ability to heal scrapes, cuts or other wounds.

Like hypoglycemia, the best precautions involve careful attention to medications and meal plans, and frequent monitoring of blood sugar levels.

The above information was obtained from http://www.diabetes-and-diabetics.com.

 

LONG TERM COMPLICATIONS

Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common and serious eye-related complication of diabetes. It is a progressive disease that destroys small blood vessels in the retina, eventually causing vision problems. In its most advanced form (known as “proliferative retinopathy”) it can cause blindness. Nearly all people with type 1 diabetes show some symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, usually after about 20 years of living with diabetes; approximately 20 to 30 percent of them develop the advanced form.

Nephropathy

Diabetic kidney disease, also known as diabetic nephropathy, is one of the most common and most devastating complications of diabetes. It is a slow deterioration of the kidneys and kidney function which, in severe cases, can eventually result in kidney failure. About one third of people with type 1 diabetes develop nephropathy.

Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease, a range of blood vessel system diseases that includes both stroke and heart attack, is the major cause of death in people with diabetes. The two most common types of cardiovascular disease are coronary heart disease, caused by fatty deposits in the arteries that feed the heart, and high blood pressure.

Neuropathy
Neuropathy, or nerve damage, affects more than 60 percent of people with type 1 diabetes.  The impact of nerve damage can range from slight inconvenience to major disability and even death. Diabetic neuropathy leads to loss of feeling and sometimes pain and weakness in the feet, legs, hands, and arms, and is the most common cause of amputations not caused by accident in the United States. In autonomic neuropathy, high glucose levels injure the autonomic nervous system, which controls bodily functions such as breathing, circulation, urination, temperature regulation, and digestion. Autonomic neuropathy may result in various types of digestive problems, diarrhea, a rapid heartbeat, and low blood pressure.


 


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