Keeping Up With the Diabetes News

With the new year came a variety of diabetes-related news. First, reality show star Rob Kardashian was reportedly diagnosed with diabetes and hospitalized for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). We can’t confirm or deny the specifics of these reports or what type of diabetes Kardashian may have, but we did notice many medical inaccuracies in the news, which is unfortunately all too common in content written about diabetes. As always, our thoughts are with the Kardashians and the thousands of families who face a diabetes diagnosis every day.

Source: American Girl

Source: American Girl

And as of Jan. 1, American Girl dolls can be outfitted with their own diabetes care kits, complete with an insulin pump, glucose tablets, a log book and more—all items used by people to take care of their diabetes, especially when they must take insulin. We celebrate any efforts to embrace diabetes awareness and inclusion, especially if it helps young people with diabetes feel more understood and less alone.

Diabetes ought to be front-page news year-round; we need a robust national conversation to fuel the fight against America’s most urgent chronic health crisis. Diabetes, in all its forms, is a very serious disease. But while every headline shines a much-needed spotlight, it can also leave room for confusion about type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The complexity of diabetes makes it ripe for myths and misinformation—so let’s get back to the basics. While there are certainly distinct differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, you may be surprised to learn how much they also have in common.

It starts with understanding the hormone insulin, which is produced in the pancreas. It’s what gets glucose from the food we eat out of the bloodstream and into the cells of the body, giving us the energy necessary for life. In short, you can’t survive without it.

In people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the cells that make insulin. Eventually, all of these cells are destroyed and the body no longer makes its own insulin. Those with type 1 diabetes must inject insulin as a medication for the rest of their lives. Although most often diagnosed in children, type 1 diabetes can affect people at any age.

Type 2 diabetes is the more common form, affecting 90 to 95 percent of Americans with diabetes. With type 2, the body typically still makes some insulin but is not able to use it correctly and may not make enough of it. Type 2 diabetes is more common among adults, but children can develop it as well. It is treated with healthy eating, physical activity, oral medications and sometimes insulin or other injectables.

An additional 86 million Americans have a condition called prediabetes, which puts them at serious risk for developing type 2 diabetes. And as many as 9.2 percent of women develop a usually temporary form of diabetes during pregnancy, called gestational diabetes, which can cause health risks to the developing fetus and during labor. Gestational diabetes also puts a mother at higher risk for type 2 later on and may set up her infant for health problems later in life, too.

With these fundamentals outlined, let’s explore some striking similarities that unite all people affected by diabetes.

Diabetes is genetic. Two factors are important in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes: You inherit a predisposition to the disease, then something in your environment triggers it. In most cases of type 1 diabetes, people inherit risk factors from both parents. Researchers speculate that the triggers could be anything from weather to viruses, but exact causes are still unknown. Meanwhile, type 2 is influenced by genetics, family history, age and inactivity. Being overweight is a major risk factor for developing type 2, but it’s important to note that most overweight people never develop type 2, and many people with it are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight. (For the record, diabetes is not directly caused by eating or drinking too much sugar.)

Diabetes has a common set of symptoms. Frequent urination, blurry vision, extreme thirst and fatigue are all hallmarks of diabetes, though the onset for type 1 is typically more sudden and some people with type 2 have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.

Both types of diabetes require a healthy lifestyle—and sometimes insulin treatment. Just to survive, people with type 1 must take multiple injections of insulin daily or continually infuse insulin with a pump. Multiple daily blood glucose checks and healthful eating and regular physical activity are also important in their everyday diabetes management. For most people, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. Over time, the body gradually produces less and less of its own insulin, and eventually oral medications may not be enough to keep blood glucose levels normal. The need for insulin treatment doesn’t mean the person with type 2 has failed—or that his or her diabetes has suddenly become type 1. It just means that person’s body needs more insulin than the body can produce on its own.

All types of diabetes are serious. High blood glucose levels and long-duration diabetes can lead to devastating and life-threatening, long-term complications, including heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and limb loss. Severe low blood glucose and high blood glucose can pose immediate health dangers and death if untreated. Diabetes takes a staggering physical, emotional and financial toll on our country—to the tune of $245 billion—every year.

Diabetes has no cure. At this time there is no cure for diabetes. We don’t yet know how to prevent type 1 diabetes. We know that type 2 can sometimes be prevented or delayed through lifestyle changes, such as increased exercise and healthful eating. But even if people with type 2 manage to bring their blood glucose levels to a normal range without medication, they still have diabetes. We work with researchers every day to unlock the puzzles of diabetes. Finding a cure, preventing the disease and its complications when we can and supporting those affected by diabetes is at the very core of the mission of the American Diabetes Association®.

You can live well with diabetes. With good information, education, medical care and support, people with diabetes can enjoy a long, productive life. As barriers to discrimination have been lifted, particularly in the 25 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, there is very little that people with diabetes can’t do in life or career: play professional sports, join law enforcement, become a Supreme Court justice, you name it!

Diabetes is a dangerous foe, and misinformation about it can directly and indirectly harm people. We urge you to join us in spreading the facts about diabetes.

What do YOU wish more people knew about diabetes? Tell us in the comments!

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11 Responses to Keeping Up With the Diabetes News

  1. Pingback: Keeping Up With the Diabetes News | My Diabetes Buddy

  2. Ian Buckingham says:

    Diabetes is one of those invisible disabilities,because there are no visible signs to the general public.

  3. Amanda S. says:

    I think this is absolutely great! I think type 1 diabetes need to be more recognized like this more in the world and especially for girls because at the age my type 2 diabetic daughter Megan is who will be 20yrs old this coming July and have been a insulin dependent diabetic since the tender ago of 3yrs old and she doesn’t like for her insulin pump to show and feels like she’s always getting looked at because her punk may show and at the age of 8yrs old when she first got her insulin pump she thought people would think she was weird having a pump so now American girl has made this cute diabetic doll to let little girls like my Meggy was they are perfect and unique. Thanks American girl! I still want to get this doll for my 20yr old daughter.

  4. Jonas Venâncio says:

    Good morning. I’m diabetic type 1, I need insulini 5 times in the day ( 1lantus, 4 fast).
    Is important the diabetic people stay motivate for sports or simple physical activity, because control better the blood sugar.
    I love in Portugal, and here the preconception is low, more and more. I practice soccer indoor, and out of this I practice much physical activity. In the moment I’m the captain of soccer indoor Portuguese team for diabetic people, is a great project in Portugal and Europe, for the diabetis desmistification.
    All year have a European, in diferents countrys, Ukraine, Croacia, Hungary and Romania. If the diabetis communities helps I think is possible do a great things, is important fight for the independence, desmistification and equality.

  5. Lee Gardner says:

    What is the cost and do she come in different nationalities. Really like the idea..

    • Jonas Venâncio says:

      The cost is so much, and this is hard organisation… Portugal dont help much about this, but every year we do more helps. This year we do a little federation help, this is very important. We participated in 2013,2014,2015 European, because have sponsers, everyday try more and more sponsers, and do suficient money to go to Europeans. I hope in the future organisation a world cup, if all diabetes world work together I think is possible.

  6. Deborah Tracy says:

    I am a senior citizen Type 1 Diabetic for over 35 years. I think the doll is adorable and may help a young girl understand the insulin pump and why it is necessary for Diabetics. My question is however, for American Doll Corp, this is a way for them to make a profit from consumers. Will American Dall be donating part of their profits from the sale of the diabetic dolls for research and development? In my opinion, they should. What do others think?

  7. Antonio Dingle says:

    I know and have known people with Diabetes and any advance is one I am glad for beyond expression, but one situation when it comes to Blood Sugar Levels, one which I suffer from, which is very dangerous, and which was described to me as a form of Diabetes is, “hypoglycemia!”

    Me myself I will be glad when it finally gets the attention needed as it causes problems for many people and too many have no idea what so ever of what’s going on with them.

  8. Judy Canary says:

    I am a Type 1 diabetic, I am a retired senior
    citizen and an American. The cost of my insulin
    after my top-level insurance pays is still over
    $300. per month, not counting the other drugs
    I need to take. Insulin has been around forever,
    yet the price is still outrageous. Many people
    can’t afford these life saving drugs. This needs
    to be addressed, please!

  9. Pingback: Keeping Up With the Diabetes News | Diabetic Junction

  10. Alexandra says:

    I’m a 32 yr old who has lived with type 1 since age 3. I want to stress the danger of people stating that this disease is ‘manageable’ or ‘insulin pumps and glucose sensors create an artificial pancreas.’ This IS NOT a cure. We need a cure not more prescriptions! I have an insulin pump and have done the sensors, it’s a major pain. When my doctors office called the wrong test strips in to my pharmacy, my order for the correct test strips was denied because they will only cover the cost at certain intervals. This is not manageable. Someone should pay me every time I have to check my blood glucose level…

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