Warning Signs of Type 1 #Diabetes In Kids

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Do you know the warning signs of Type 1 Diabetes? They can creep up one-by-one over a few months and even a pediatrician might dismiss the early symptoms as perfectly harmless. Frequent urination or bed-wetting in a previously trained child? Maybe it’s school anxiety. Thirsty? It’s probably just the dry air. However, soon those symptoms can multiply and if the diabetes diagnosis isn’t made, your child could be placed in unnecessary danger. If you start to notice these symptoms, it is important to ask your doctor to test for diabetes. Unfortunately, the first urine test could come out negative if it is in an early stage and parents need to be proactive about asking for an additional test if symptoms are escalating down the line.

I recently got to know Margie Boyd, an amazing and inspiring mom of a son with Type 1 Diabetes. Not only did Margie establish a national foundation to support families dealing with this difficult diagnosis, but she also created a website and educational products to raise awareness about the warning signs of Type 1 Diabetes. Her hope is that families will recognize these symptoms and seek early treatment, before the diabetes gets out of control.

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Below, Margie tells us more about her experiences and how they inspired her to make a difference. But first, do you know the warning signs? Here they are:

Extreme thirst
Frequent urination
Sudden vision changes
Sugar in urine
Irritability
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Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
Increased appetite
Sudden weight loss
Drowsiness, lethargy
Heavy, labored breathing
Stupor, unconsciousness

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Here is Margie’s story: My son was diagnosed about five years ago and that is when Type 1 Diabetes chose us. I was a busy mom homeschooling my kids, working as a graphic artist for a charity called Mercy Ships and living life full steam ahead. Type 1 Diabetes stopped me in my tracks when I discovered all that I would need to learn in a short amount of time to keep my son alive and healthy. I totally took a year off from my work and other interests to focus and learn. Once I became somewhat comfortable, I could not get past the fact that every week in our town another family was experiencing what we had experienced. They were also overwhelmed and basically alone. Empathy can be a great catalyst.

Not long after that, together with a few friends we started a local non profit called Tyler Type One Diabetes Foundation to reach out to those newly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. We worked with the local hospital to reach them within 24 hours when the need for support was more critical. As this unfolded, we developed a monthly support group and Type 1 Diabetes 101 class for more education and opportunities to connect with one another. These have become our core services over the past four years as well as annual events and gatherings. We are determined to make it a model support system that is sustainable. We all want the cure, but more than that, we all want to see the gap of support filled from the moment of diagnoses UNTIL the cure is found. Staying strong, encouraged and healthy until that cure is found is just as important as the cure.
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We had many over the years who have contacted us to start support groups modeled after our Tyler Type One. Therefore three years ago we started a national organization called the Type One Diabetes Foundation that has helped to start five more affiliate sites around the country. They are independent nonprofits that are run by their local volunteers.

I also noticed over the years of reaching out to newly diagnosed that many were already in DKA before they ever saw the doctor for the first time. (Note: Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication in patients with diabetes mellitus. It happens predominantly in those with Type 1 Diabetes, but it can occur in those with Type 2 diabetes under certain circumstances. DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketone bodies that cause most of the symptoms and complications. Vomiting, dehydration, deep gasping breathing, confusion and occasionally coma are typical symptoms. )

I read a recent study that said that 65% were in DKA before they ever noticed the symptoms and sought medical attention. This led me to start the Awareness Saves Lives Campaign. I’m a graphic artist by trade so I worked on developing an easy way to recognize and remember the warning signs of Type 1 Diabetes and incorporated it into a shirt that would help accomplish that mission. In November, I launched www.AwarenessSavesLives.com with products that people can buy and wear, posters that can be put up in school and school nurse offices, magnets, and bumper stickers. This is just our first set of initial products. We are developing other products and resources right now. We are even working on radio PSAs and TV PSAs that can be downloaded and played in local communities to help others know and remember the warning signs of Type 1 Diabetes. Since undiagnosed Type 1 can be fatal, this is a vital campaign. In the future, we will also attack the issue of misinformation concerning Type 1 and Type 2.

For now we are on a mission to help save lives. I can’t tell you how many “close calls” I’ve seen in my work with our local support groups. It breaks my heart but also is a catalyst that motivates me to do something about it.

Thank you, Margie, for your determination to save lives and help families. Stop by Awareness Saves Lives to browse T-shirts, magnets, posters and more. A portion of net profits go to Faustman Lab for their ongoing work to cure Type 1 Diabetes.

For my other diabetes posts and reviews, visit the Character Crossroads page.

About Stacy Juba

Stacy Juba writes mysteries, chick lit and contemporary fiction that is crisp, fresh, and satisfying. She is also an affordable freelance editor known for doing extensive editing on hard copies of her clients' manuscripts. Subscribe to her newsletter and/or follow her blog for freebies, resources and to discover new books.

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