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
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),
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 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
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle with
diet and exercise.
- Balance daily
carbohydrate/protein/fat intakes; avoid empty fast food calories.
- Manage or eliminate stresses through
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
Symptoms resulting from high blood sugar levels
- hunger or thirst
- frequent urination
- dry skin
- itchy skin
- 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
LONG TERM COMPLICATIONS
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.
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, 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, 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.