diabetes burnout

Diabetes Burnout is Your Right

By: Chris Ruden


Diabetes burnout is real. All the tedious finger-pricking and annoying alarms and evasive blood sugars and meandering moods get to you eventually. It can get exhausting, rightfully so.

For some, burnout is an emotional state & for some, it is an action or actions. Either way, it is a very real part of living with a condition for the rest of your life. It is important to recognize what diabetes burnout is– the signs and symptoms– and to figure out how to push through it.

Diabetes Burnout: The Emotional State

Diabetes burnout doesn’t always mean extremely high sugars and self abandonment. Burnout can simply be you completely tired of the repetitive behaviors life with diabetes requires. This emotional state of “blah” can affect people to different severities. Maybe you are just really annoyed with your diabetes, or maybe you mistake it for depression, or maybe you just kind of close off to the world mentally.

Regardless of YOUR version of burnout, it is your right as a diabetic to feel this. It should not be accompanied by guilt or shame or judgement. This condition, a condition no one asked for, is a huge weight to bear. It is natural for us to burnout temporarily and does not make us a bad patient. It does not make us a bad person either.

No one has the right to tell you otherwise, especially someone who doesn’t know what living with diabetes is like.


Diabetes Burnout: Behaviors

When people burnout, sometimes it stops at negative thought processes but, sometimes, those negative thought processes manifest themselves into behaviors.

Personally, when I’ve found myself to be burnt out in the past, I’ve caught myself checking my sugar 1 time a day (or less), taking insulin off of “feeling”, and not correcting at the right times. My burnout can get pretty bad. Does that make me a bad person? Does that mean I’m reckless or ignorant or less than a “good” diabetic?

Hell no.

It means I’m human. It means life can get hard for even the strongest of people. And that’s OK. It is a moment. It is a temporary state of frustration that you are fully entitled to at times. It is a reaction to an incurable disease. I don’t feel bad for admitting the truth and neither should you. But you do have to shake it off in time.

Identify Why

“For every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction” might be Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion but it is absolutely applicable in diabetes burnout in terms of cause and effect.

Was it one specific event that set you off or the combination of all the arduous tasks and occurrences and variables that led you to burn out? It is important to attempt to identify the why. For me, a series of unfortunate events like my pump running low of insulin while I’m out or a week of off blood sugars can lead me towards burn out, just by the chain reaction of events that sometimes follow.

Try and take a step back and see what caused your specific burnout and then you can begin becoming proactive in the future.


What You Can Do

While there maybe a moment where you just want to reflect alone, there also comes a time to “get back on the horse” so-to-speak. This is where effective thinking can really help you.

Ask yourself “ What can I do now and from now on to make this better or at least to make this suck less?”

Facebook support groups for diabetics are an amazing outlet for like minded people to vent, learn, and just feel understood.

Diabetic events are also an awesome place to meet fellow diabetics and really feel a sense of belonging.

The worst thing you can do is hide. Don’t seclude yourself from society in thinking no one understands. Trust me, we get it and we get you. No one is perfect but diabetes burnout is perfectly normal. Reach out for support. Vent when you need to. Take your time. And, most importantly, don’t beat yourself up over a temporary burnout– it’s allowed and it’s your right as a diabetic to experience it.

Feel free to watch my video on diabetes burnout above or listen to my diabetes podcast episode on burn out on iTunes or Soundcloud

“Don’t You Ever Get Tired Of Talking About Diabetes?”

By: Jodie Lopez

Blog: Type One Mom Blog

Not too long ago, I was asked, “Don’t you ever get tired of talking about diabetes?”. The question took me back a minute, because I wasn’t sure how to react. I didn’t know if I should be offended, confused or laugh. Did someone really ask me that? I didn’t know what to say, but within a split second I was able to give the most simple answer. Yes. I absolutely get tired of talking about diabetes. I wish I didn’t have to talk about it at all. I wish this silent, invisible disease didn’t exist.

Who wants to talk about a disease that could potentially cut someone’s life short?

Who wants to talk about a disease that their child has?

Who wants to talk about a disease that is so unpredictable?

Who wants to talk about a disease that there is no cure for?

So yes, I get tired of talking about diabetes. Wouldn’t you?

Here’s the other piece to this, though. Giving up is not an option.

As tiresome as it might be, as long as we keep pushing forward, there will be a cure in my lifetime. I look forward to the day when my son doesn’t have to wear an electronic device to keep him alive. I look forward to the day when getting up three times in the middle of the night doesn’t mean life or death. I look forward to the day when people, young and old, all over the world, don’t have to go to sleep wondering if their going to wake up because of a low blood sugar. And when that day comes (and it WILL come), I’ll know that all those people will never have to worry about going to sleep in fear of not waking up.

Blue November is officially Diabetes Awareness Month, and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to tell you about the question I was asked not too long ago. But most importantly, I hope you’ll join me in the fight to find a cure, because giving up is not an option.

The Next Big Thing – Medtronic Diabetes 670G Hybrid Closed-Loop System

The Next Big Thing – Medtronic Diabetes 670g Hybrid Closed-Loop System

By Allen Lightcap

This Halloween, I will be commemorating my 27th year since being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  I am now 38 years old and until recently had never imagined what it might be like to live without diabetes, or to get some relief from this relentless disease.

I have run the gamut of available therapies with mixed results – multiple daily injections of a long lasting insulin coupled with a short term insulin for meals was the only option I had heard of until I was introduced to insulin pump therapy in 1999.  There was a lot of freedom gained simply moving from injections to the pump, and improved control in my A1C.  From there, I continued upgrading to the latest and greatest insulin pump and then introduced a continuous glucose monitoring system 4 years ago.

Being able to monitor in relatively real time what my blood sugar was, watch it trend upwards or downwards, and receive alerts in advance of these adverse trends was another step in freedom from the daily grind.  But even with the best in insulin pump therapy and CGMS, I was still relegated to helplessly watching the trends after I had made a “bad” decision – either a few slices of pizza which was pushing my sugar up, or an unplanned bike ride with my kids that was now dragging my sugar down.  Why should an attempt at a normal life be a “bad” decision?

I’m sure most, if not all, Type 1 Diabetics have felt this helplessness from time to time.

There have been days on end for me for which I could not get my glucose to come down to a normal range, and many a day that no matter how much I ate I could not keep it above 80 mg/dl for any length of time.  With all the evolutionary changes to my diabetes therapy, I was still required to tweak my basal levels and decide on a regular basis how much this meal, or that exercise, would impact my blood sugar.  And God forbid I get it wrong – then I would need to readjust and think about how to modify with an additional bolus, or extend my temporary basal level.

Recently, Medtronic Diabetes introduced their 670G insulin pump, which they hailed as the first “hybrid closed-loop system.”

It is the first commercially available system in the United States to use CGMS data to automatically adjust the basal levels delivered to the patient.  I had upgraded to their 630G system at the end of 2016 and was a candidate for their rollout of this new approach, and because I generally like to upgrade my insulin pump (and iPhone) when a new one is available, I signed up.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t expect much to change with my control or my life with a system taking over just the basal rates, but I viewed it as the next evolution in insulin pumps – eventually moving to a fully closed loop system which would also calculate meal time boluses and include onboard glucagon (aka artificial pancreas).

Attending the training classes, I had many questions about how the pump would account for the things that tripped me up the most, like the pizza or bike rides.  I had been in control of my insulin pump for 18 years, adjusting those basal rates like a boss, and no microprocessor was going to effectively take that away from me.  Giving up that control and letting the system do its thing was one of the most difficult transitions, as visions of bottoming out in the middle of the night, or in the middle of an important meeting, danced in my head.

In my 2 weeks on the new system, I noticed an immediate change in the amount of time I spent above 180 mg/dl, the high limit of my normal range.

My diabetes educator sat down with me for my first review, and I was surprised to see the stark difference in glucose trends.  Prior to starting on the 670G system, I was only spending about 34% of my time in a target range of 80-180, with the remainder of that time generally spent suffering through or recovering from a post meal spike up to 250 or 300.  I had learned to cope with this fatigued, nauseous feeling and my A1C was not in a terrible range, and I would rather have a higher post meal spike than to deal with a low.

My first 2 weeks on the Medtronic Diabetes 670G system I had more than doubled my time in range to 74%, and I could really feel a noticeable difference.

No longer was I plagued with the chronic fatigue that accompanies those high blood sugars.  I didn’t worry about a low blood sugar because the system will react (to a point) to your sugars trending downward and will reduce the basal insulin delivered.  And the biggest difference for me was the aggressiveness with which I approached my meal time boluses.  I had been living in fear of a low, and would consistently under bolus, causing the continual spikes and corrective boluses to get back into range.  I now approach my meals much more realistically and find that I am now appropriately bolusing, knowing that if I miss the mark a bit the system will adjust.

What it won’t do is pick up all the slack if you under bolus or miss a bolus entirely, or if you take way too much.  Those dangers are still real.

The Medtronic Diabetes pump is continuously adjusting my basal rate to target a glucose of 120 mg/dl, but will only adjust so far.  It also allows me to input a temporary target of 150 if I am going to be doing some strenuous activity.  But leveraging this new system has given me a tremendously increased sense of freedom to live my life on my terms, pizza and bike rides included.

Ironically, giving up control to the machines has actually made me feel more in control of my diabetes than I have felt in the preceding 27 years.  Is the system perfect?  No.  I still have to do many of the same things I have had to do for years, such as calibrating a sensor, changing an insertion site, and dealing with the occasional high or low blood sugar.  But the highs and lows are less frequent, and more manageable.  And they are generally explainable as “whoops” moments where I didn’t properly perform the carb counting guessing game in my head.

What has dramatically improved is a reduction in the unexplainable hours or days with a high or low trend that I can’t do enough to correct.

The flexibility to start working on a home improvement project or hike without adjusting my basal, worrying if the adjustment is enough or too much.  Overcoming my own personal fear of bolusing too much, choosing the lesser of two evils and opting to under bolus and correct later.

These are the incremental improvements in the quality of life I have already experienced. And I am excited for what the next evolution in insulin pump therapy holds.

So much has been promised with a T1D “cure” – a truly closed loop insulin pump/CGMS system, islet cell transplant/implantation, etc. But for now, I am extremely grateful for the freedom this new system brings, and future innovations on the horizon.

Learn more about the world’s first hybrid closed loop system by Medtronic Diabetes.

Have you tried the new Medtronic Diabetes 670g system? If so, leave your opinions below.

Diabetes Jokes – When is Enough, Enough?

This week comedian Jimmy Kimmel made a joke referencing diabetes: “Thank you for the cookies Kelly Ripa – you are sweeter than diabetes”.

Many in the diabetes community responded to this post on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with their objection to an insensitive comment. Many are frustrated with how diabetes a life-threatening illness, is taken so lightly. But many have also expressed how it’s just a joke and to not take things so seriously.

But when is the line crossed? When is enough, enough?

Question is: What makes diabetes so funny? What makes the threat of losing one’s life or limbs funny? What makes the thought of not waking up in the morning funny? Or what about the idea that you might not be able to afford to live?

Express your views.

How can we challenge this issue? How can things change? When is the public going to realize we need help? Or that we need a cure? Is this something that’s never going to change? What are we doing wrong?

We see diabetes talked about in the movies, on television, and it’s all the same ignorance. It’s punchlines perpetuating misconceptions about diabetes. But we don’t see cancer, MS, and other illnesses being joked about. Just diabetes, why is that? The same jokes, the same lines, and nothing ever changes.

What came we do as a community to fix this?

Do you mind the jokes? Why or why not?

**Leave your comment/view point answering these questions.

1001 Hypos –

By: Camilla Roelants

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes just over 19 months ago. With an average of 10 times daily, that’s close to 6000 times I have pricked my fingers to check my BG levels. So far, I have given myself 1743 bolus injections, and 581 basal injections – a total of 2324. I was never a big fan of needles, and I still am not.

Like many other Type 1s, I have heard from others, time and time again, this comment: ” But how do you inject yourself every day? I literally couldn’t”. I smile at the naive remark, but here’s the deal: Yes, you could.

If you had to inject yourself multiple times a day in order to stay alive – no matter how afraid of needles you are – you would, I guarantee you this. It isn’t a matter of choice. Not when your life hangs in the balance. But although I am not a fan of needles, ( and even now, 2500 injections later, I still have to give myself a mini pep-talk beforehand) , for me personally, injections have not been the worst part of having Type 1 Diabetes.

In fact, top of the list for me is hypoglycemia. These past 19 months, I have had on average 2 episodes of hypoglycemia per day. In 19 months, that’s over 1000 hypos. One thousand. One thousand times I have felt at death’s door, my heart racing, my hands shaking, my brain temporarily impaired.

When I was diagnosed, the focus from my medical team was on keeping my blood glucose levels as low as possible. Having been diagnosed in pregnancy, there were huge risks to my baby’s development in running high blood sugars, and I did everything in my power to follow the guidelines and keep my BG levels low – successfully, may I add.

But as a consequence, I had hypos. A lot of hypos. Anytime I expressed my concerns about these numerous hypos, I was told that I had “a high sensitivity to insulin”, and that it would ” sort itself out ” once my baby was born.

The medical team was “not currently concerned”. So I put up with it, my number one priority being my unborn baby’s wellbeing, and assumed that the multiple hypos were just part of the T1 package. Fast forward to 38 weeks gestational, and I had to fast for 12 hours before delivery of my son by C-section.

I was worried about how I would be able to keep my BG levels up, as I was being put on am insulin drip. I expressed my concerns to the medical staff on the labour ward, but I was told my BG levels would be closely monitored, and that I need not be worried.

At 7 a.m the next morning, I began to feel “off”, and did a fingerprick to check my levels. At 3.5 mmol/l (63 mg/dL) it was dropping. I checked again, 5 minutes later, and it was 2.6 mmol/l (46 mg/dL). I immediately pressed the distress button for the midwives. 5 more minutes passed, and no midwife had come.

At this stage, I was in full-blown panic. With hands shaking like leaves, I somehow managed to prick my finger again. 1.1 mmol/l (19 mg/DL). And still dropping. My heart was racing, I was sweating profusely, my entire body was trembling, and I struggled to maintain consciousness.

Finally, the midwife entered the room, and asked me if I was OK. Her voice sounded far, far away, and my vision was blurry from the tears I had not even noticed were streaming down my face in buckets. I found I was unable to speak; my brain refused to cooperate and tell my lips to move.

I gathered all the strength I had, and managed to shake my head, and lift my meter up, ever so slightly. She glanced at it, then turned on her heels and fled from the room in a panic, returning seconds later with an army of midwives.

Two of the nurses were armed with Glucagon pens, which were immediately injected intravenously into each of my thighs. Several minutes later, my BG levels had shot up to 16.5 mmol/l (297). I felt like I had just boxed 3 rounds with Mc Gregor. But my beautiful baby boy was born two hours later, weighing in at nearly 10lb, and although he had slightly low blood glucose levels at birth, he was fine.

Since then I have continued to suffer from hypoglycemia, every day. And every day, with each hypo, I worry about what damage it is causing, especially to my heart and brain. Since I often have heart palpitations when having a hypo, this means that for at least half an hour each day, my heart is in tachycardia.

For at least half an hour each day, my brain is impaired, and my vital organs are starved of glucose. For at least half an hour each day, I feel like I’m dying. Luckily for me, I still have good hypo awareness, and therefore I have never needed medical assistance to treat a hypo – I have never passed out from one, as I have always managed to treat them in time – 1000 times.

I have read up on hypoglycemia a lot in the past 19 months, and it is clear to me that it represents a major risk factor in terms of cardiac events and brain impairment (i.e early onset Alzheimer’s) down the line.

My endocrinologist recently asked me an interesting question. He asked me: “What is it that worries you the most, in terms of your Diabetes?” To which I replied: “Dying young, and not seeing my children grow up”. My biggest fear is that that’s exactly what will happen, if I don’t get a handle on this. And the thought alone terrifies me.

10 Things Not to Say to Someone With Diabetes

Having diabetes, it’s not unusual to come in contact with someone who is misinformed about this disease. I, for one, did not know anything about type 1 diabetes prior to being diagnosed. I try to keep this in mind when I hear ignorant comments that may be well intentioned.

While someone may just be unaware, some comments can even come off as rude or insensitive. A lot of the misinformation about diabetes comes from the media. It’s hard to tackle the misconceptions out there but I do my best to educate those around me.

I have to admit, there’s days where I’m just frustrated with diabetes that an ignorant comment is the last thing I want to hear. It’s those times where I feel blessed to have a community that understands.


Here is 10 Things NOT to Say to Someone With Diabetes:


1. Should you be eating that?

(I’m just going to continue eating because I either bolused already or I’m low).


2. You don’t look diabetic



3. It could always be worse

Gee thanks!


4. If you diet and exercise it will go away

Sorry, but diet and exercise won’t fix my broken pancreas.


5. Did you eat too much sugar as a kid?

(I’m just going to pretend like you didn’t just ask that).


6. My grandma has diabetes and lost her leg

Thanks, that’s exactly what I needed to hear.


7. How do you inject yourself? I could never do that..

It’s simple.. it’s either life or death.



8. I heard cinnamon can cure diabetes

Really?! If that were true then I wouldn’t have diabetes right now.


9. Do you have the bad kind?

How is there a good kind?


10. Shouldn’t you have this disease all figured out?

If only…



What other comments do you hear a lot? Post below.

You know you're a type 1 diabetic when

You Know You’re a Type 1 Diabetic When

Having Type 1 Diabetes is challenging yet it becomes part of our everyday routine. To the outside world what a type 1 diabetic deals with may seem unimaginable, but to those in the diabetes community we totally get it and can find humor in our everyday lives.

The Best of ‘You Know You’re a Type 1 Diabetic When’

1. You accidentally cut yourself and wonder if you can get enough blood to test your sugar.

2. Explaining to worried teenagers in the public restroom….”I am taking an insulin shot because I am a type 1 diabetic, I’m not a junkie”.

3. When you look at food and see numbers.

4. When your finger tips look like they need blackhead removal.

5. You have a drawer of candy for emergencies.

You know you're a type 1 diabetic when

7. When you’re scooping out the very last scoop of ice cream from the container and haven’t had time to bolus for it yet and your husband comes into the kitchen and wants some and you look at him innocently and say “oh, I’m sorry I just bolused for that”.

8. When you wake up with a test strip stuck to your face.

9. When someone tells you that cinnamon can fix all your problems.

10. You are up all night correcting or being forced fed when all you want to do is sleep.

11. When someone thinks you’re drunk but you are really just low.

12. When the butter compartment in your fridge is no longer used for butter.

Credit: Childrens Diabetes Foundation

13. When your outfit revolves around if it can hold your pump up or not.

14. One day your fasting can be a perfect 77 and the next day it’s 343.

15. When your handbag is the size of a suitcase to carry all your diabetes stuff around plus your ‘normal’ stuff.

16. When you have to pee like a race horse in a Kentucky derby.

17. When your mom, in front of everyone says, “baby, you are high!”

18. When you get up during the night going low, invade the goodies cupboard and turn into a complete savage then wake in the morning like you’ve been out drinking too much.

19. When you wanna punch someone in the face but turns out you just need a snack.

20. You have headaches and you think your sugar is really high but you realize its just a normal headache.

You know you're a type 1 diabetic when

22. You’re cramming gummy bears in your mouth while prepping dinner.

23. When you automatically know what your pump is telling you without looking because of the sound it’s making.

24. When you chew open the corner of a juice box for a 3 am crash after losing the straw.

25. Your wallet is empty.

26. When your zombie apocalypse plan involves looting a pharmacy, a cooler, and travel to a colder climate.

27. You are excited beyond words to see a sugar-free line of drinks from Monster Energy.

you know you're a type 1 diabetic when

29. When you tell people you have to shoot up to avoid getting high!

30. You’re excited that you’re blood sugar is low because you really have been wanting to eat. [Fill in the blank with your favorite cheat food].

31. When you get excited from receiving your medical supply shipment in the mail.

32. You pull a pump out of your bra at the dinner table.

33. When you are skilled at giving yourself a shot in a moving vehicle.

34. You buy all the holiday candy for your low “stash”.

35. When you’re the only person in the gym with candy and juice boxes.

36. When someone asks you for your phone number but you give them your blood sugar number.

you know you're a type 1 diabetic when

38. When insulin is LIFE.

39. When you blame being in a bad mood on your sugar being high.

40. Your worst and best subject is math.

41. When you have to eat before you go out to eat.

**Comment with your favorite ‘You Know You’re a Type 1 Diabetic When’

you know you're a type 1 diabetic when

thank god I woke up

Thank God I Woke Up

Thank God I Woke Up

By: Katharine Orona

Blog: This is Type 1 Diabetes

When you go to sleep at night you generally expect to wake up in the morning. When you have a chronic illness like Type 1 Diabetes, you try everything you can to make sure you will wake up the next morning.

You do everything right. But sometimes it’s not enough.

I am thankful to have technology that helps me stay alive, but I understand that technology is not perfect and sometimes things can still go wrong. Two weeks ago I went to bed like any other night, but woke up early the next morning with an intense feeling of desperation that I know all too well. My blood sugar was dropping. Fast.

I looked at my phone to check my Dexcom app and it read 74 (which wouldn’t normally give me these symptoms). I knew the reading had to be wrong so I woke my husband up and told him to get me juice FAST. He did, along with my meter so I can see how much juice I might need. My meter read 49. And I can tell I was dropping to a lower number quickly, so I drank a 2nd juice.

The next 15 minutes felt like 15 hours. Heart racing, rapid breathing, physiology kicking in and telling you that you need more sugar now. But I know I must wait. It finally came back up and I woke up a couple of hours later at a completely normal blood sugar of 123.

Then I thought to myself, what if that 49 didn’t wake me up? What would’ve happened to me?

I clearly needed those 30 grams of carbs I drank since my blood sugar didn’t spike later. If I didn’t drink it, what would that morning have looked like for my family? Panic set in. The feelings of what if and the feelings of reality kicking in came over me. But why did my blood sugar drop so low?

Why do these things happen even if you live your life by a calculator and you dose your insulin as best you can and you try so hard? Because. Diabetes.

Diabetes has no rhyme or reason. Sometimes 2 + 2 does not equal 4. And sometimes you wake up before the sun because God decided that today is not that day. Today you will wake up. You will wake up before it’s too late.

Today, you will survive. And two weeks later, I’m still thankful.

share a story

It’s Not You, It’s Diabetes

“It’s not you, it’s diabetes”
By: Mitchell Jacobs

“BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP” Will you fix your sugar already it’s 2 in the morning and I have to be up in 3 hours! This is almost a nightly event with my wife of four years. She’s a type one diabetic. Which in short means her pancreas failed at a young age.

So why is this such a big problem in our day to day lives? The constant beeping, the constant snacking, and the never ending high alarms and the dreaded low alarms. My wife sets her CGM to go off below 70 and above 200. That doesn’t leave much room for a quiet night, or after noon or anytime for that matter. However, we would rather be alert of her situation than unaware and not treat a severe high or low.

I work anywhere from 45-55 hours a week, on a military schedule mind you, which could mean showing up for work Wednesday and being told I’m leaving for a detachment Friday.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times i’ve been in a room at work with co workers to hear her low alarm go off. (If you’ve heard an amber alert go off on you’re phone its as startling as that.) So it scares my coworkers and definitely scares me. Now I need to go out of the building (no reception) and make a phone call to ensure my wife is aware of her low, and treating it. This is just the beginning of my frustration with her type one diabetes.

A large part of my job in the military is flying. I’m not a pilot but I’m known as a Naval Aircrewman. So we could have 6 – 7 hour flights from one side of the country to the next. Or even more worrisome is when we travel oversees. Then I cannot get cellular data (thanks a lot Verizon), until I connect to wifi in the hotel we’ll stay in.

I can’t begin to stress to you how deep your heart can sink when you get a low alert at 8am local time but 2am where my wife is, and I can’t get through with her. It’s the simplest thing, to make a phone call, until hearing that voice is the only thing that stops the panic.

More than frustrating, Type one is scary. I’ve seen the horror stories of the husbands who left for work, hadn’t heard from their wife all day, to find her that night unconscious. I find the bulk of the frustration I feel towards my wife (other than her managing to wash her hands in a sink that we collectively removed the garbage disposal from [*inside joke*]) is type one diabetes. I constantly find myself desiring to apologize to her for how angry or annoyed I got with her, based on something she has little control over.

If I could say anything to my wife right now, it’s I love you. Plain and simple, and I know what I signed up for. I don’t mean to always seem frustrated with you because I want you to be healthy, and I’m glad you set your alarms for such good numbers. I just want you to know its not you, it’s diabetes.

share a story

when it's not the flu - life threatening illness

When It’s Not The Flu: A Life-threatening Illness That Is Commonly Misdiagnosed

It is fairly common when someone becomes thirsty, tired, nauseous, or begins vomiting they’re diagnosed with the flu. While it very may well be the flu, it could also be Type 1 Diabetes and should always be ruled out. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the beta cells in the pancreas and therefore can no longer produce insulin.

Type 1 Diabetes isn’t always the first cause that comes to mind because diabetes is thought to be linked to diet and obesity. But Type 1 Diabetes is not a result of lifestyle choices. There is no known cause or cure at this time. But researchers believe genetics and environmental factors can play a role in the onset.

Normally Type 1 Diabetes isn’t considered until the adult or child is severely ill with DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis). Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a toxic condition where the blood sugar levels rise and can’t distribute energy to the cells in the body due to lack of insulin.

For someone that was initially diagnosed with the flu, they would soon notice the symptoms not getting better but progressively worse; over a few days to weeks. However, time is very crucial to begin treatment for diabetes in order to avoid varies complications or death.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes can come on suddenly

There has been many cases where a patient has been sent home with the flu. Without further evaluating if it could possibly be Type 1 Diabetes. A mother of type 1 diabetic (Amy Waddington) shares about her son’s diagnosis and hopes her story can help educate and inform others of Type 1 Diabetes and the symptoms to be aware of.

Mother states: 

“3 years ago he was 13. He was eating and drinking like a typical teenager yet he was fading away. He had energy of a 90 year old man, he was pale, his eyes were sunken in, his clothes were hanging off his bony body because he had lost about 15 pounds. We took him to his pediatrician, desperately wanting answers. We were told to “bring him back next week if he still wasn’t feeling well.”

“Two days later, my dear friend came over. She looked at my son and instantly started sobbing. It was then when I realized I wasn’t waiting until next week. I quickly took him to the emergency room. The triage nurse took one look at him and asked me if he was diabetic. Of course I said no. She said she smelled a fruity odor on his breath. I wasn’t really sure what she meant by that. She immediately rushed us to the back…within seconds of getting there they were pumping insulin into his failing body. I felt like I was watching the show ER…it was so scary.”

not the flu - type 1 diabetes symptoms“I did not know then, what I know now. We could of lost our son that night, or that weekend had we not taken him to the hospital when we did. His body was starving for insulin. His pancreas was no longer producing it. One more day without insulin and our story could be different. I believe God used my friend to spare my son’s life and he is now using us to share our story & educate people about this horrible disease.”

If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, consult with your physician immediately for further testing.

All it takes is a simple blood glucose test that takes 2 seconds to rule out diabetes. To have an accurate diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes a test for the diabetes-related (islet) autoantibodies is necessary. Once starting insulin therapy, monitoring blood glucose levels, and consulting regularly with an endocrinologist; Type 1 Diabetes can be well managed.

“The misdiagnosis of type 1 diabetes is on the rise. Educate yourself, your family and your friends on the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes as minutes make all the difference.” –Dancing4Diabetes

For more information on Type 1 Diabetes: