Tag: autoimmune disease

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:

http://www.jdrf.org/about/about-type-1-diabetes-t1d/

https://beyondtype1.org/what-is-t1d/

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/recently-diagnosed/

How My Other Illnesses Helped Me Accept My Type 1

How My Other Illnesses Helped Me Accept My Type 1

Blog: Love, Light, and Insulin


It took me 10 years to truly accept that I have¬†Type 1 Diabetes. I know, that sounds impossible, but it really did. My mom was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 8. So I grew up in a Type 1 household. Our family didn’t need to be taught fresh. We already lived surrounded by needles, meters, and glucose tabs.

I was 12 when I was diagnosed. Just entering high school.

I have no dramatic diagnosis story because with my mom’s knowledge we actually caught it early. It was a full year until my pancreas completely stopped making insulin.

12 is a strange age. I was just entering high school. I was an awkward tween with braces. I just wanted people to like me, but I didn’t even know who I was yet. So I kind of just pushed my Diabetes to the side. It’s not that I completely ignored it, but I just dealt with it without having any sort of grieving process. I followed along with what my mom did and continued with life, hiding in the bathroom at school to give my insulin, and pretended it wasn’t a big deal.

Then at 20 I was hit with a mystery illness.

I was in school for professional photography and I just felt awful every day. My legs started to feel like lead when I walked. The trek from my suburb to school downtown began to feel nearly impossible. I developed a wide gait and walking, something that used to be so natural, became difficult. That was the last time I was in school. At this point I had been to my doctor and she had asked me if I was depressed… if my Diabetes was under control… if I was exercising, because all my tests were coming back normal.

Next came scarier and stranger issues. I had stroke-like episodes. I started going into urinary retention. My gastrointestinal problems that I’d always had became more severe. I was lightheaded and nauseous standing up. It just felt like my body was falling apart.

And it was a uphill battle to get doctors to believe me and take me seriously. In the meantime, I was not well at all, and the realization hit me that having Type 1 wasn’t no big deal. It hit me that this disease was just as important, and just as scary and serious as all these other issues I was dealing with. It was a big deal and a complete full time job. One that I couldn’t forget to do when I wasn’t feeling well. One that I had to keep in good control to prove to my doctors that I was a compliant patient. One that was even harder to care for than some of my other issues.

So while I didn’t know what was wrong with me in every other way… I knew I had Type 1 Diabetes.

This is when I started venturing into the Diabetes Online Community. Talking to all these people who got it was such a miracle for me. From there, I found the whole chronic illness community, and both of them together helped to get me through all the years of the unknown. I found others who had both Type 1 and other unrelated illnesses. I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t the only one going through all this.

And then some tests started to come back positive. Through urodynamics I was diagnosed with Bladder Sphincter Dyssynergia, a form of Neurogenic Bladder. Through a Sitz Marker study I was diagnosed with slow intestinal motility. Through a tilt table test I was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS for short.

But my walking and balance problems were still a mystery. I had about 4 neurologists tell me I had conversion disorder but kept fighting, because I knew that wasn’t right. There so many tears shed after appointments, so many let downs. So many medical professionals who just didn’t take me seriously. Until this year.

My neurologist (one who had previously thought I had conversion disorder), called and asked me to come in and discuss some results. She told me that she thinks I have Stiff Person Syndrome, a literal one in a million disease, and started me on treatment. Stiff Person Syndrome is a rare neurological autoimmune disease that you can probably guess from the name, causes progressive stiffness and muscle spasms. So I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t know how much worse things could get or how quickly.

So right now I’m trying to live out my life the best I can with a disability.

I’m trying to go out of my comfort zone and go on adventures. And now, I can take a step back from this 5 year search for answers and breathe the biggest sigh of relief. Because although having a debilitating, progressive illness is no fun, I would rather know than not know.

Fun fact: Though Stiff Person Syndrome is thought to occur in fewer than one million people, 60% of people who do have Stiff Person Syndrome have Type 1 Diabetes.

And if I had any advice, it would be that you know your body best. Be your own advocate. Let your voice be heard and let it be strong. Don’t let the sounds from others get in the way. You are always stronger than you think you are.


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Diabetes Won't Stop Me From Living

Diabetes Won’t Stop Me From Living

Diabetes Won’t Stop Me From Living

By: Nickie Eckes

I have type one diabetes. I was diagnosed back in February of 1990, at 5 years old, because my body decided it wanted to wage war upon itself and destroy the beta cells in my pancreas.

I remember going to the hospital, and I remember being terrified and having no idea why all these doctors were “torturing” me. I just wanted to go home with my mom, dad, and brother. They said my blood sugar was over 1000 and I had to stay.

The weeks that followed in the hospital were not fun. I had gotten used to getting up and playing and running on stop. Now I was being told I had to live on a strict schedule, only able to eat a certain amount of food at certain times, along with a shot of insulin to ensure that my blood glucose levels were maintained.

They also informed my parents of a place called Camp Sioux, a camp for kids living with diabetes to go and have a “regular” camp experience, but also learn about diabetes. I loved going and it made me feel not alone because everyone was diabetic, and I made some lifelong friends. The type that understands me when I just need “a minute” or “a snack” and understand all those diabetic jokes that make my stomach hurt from laughter.

I’ve dealt with the highs and the lows of this disease now for over 27 years. I’ve handled people telling me if only I would take better care of myself, I wouldn’t be this sick. I did nothing wrong to get this illness, it’s an autoimmune condition. My body can’t make the hormone insulin, which is what is needed for the simple sugars you get from food to enter your cells for energy.

I have to calculate everything I do in a day, from what I eat, to how much I’m going to be moving, along with stress levels and illness (such as common cold or the flu) just to ensure that my blood glucose level stays within a good range and I don’t pass out due to a low blood sugar, or go so high that I get diabetic ketoacidosis (meaning your body is producing a thing called ketones and those can make you very sick). And what works one day may not work the same the next day.

I had the years of rebellion and not caring what my numbers were. I did the whole I’m gonna die young anyway so who cares. And then I decided, I wasn’t going to let this disease keep me down. My friend calls diabetes livebetes because he says “it won’t stop me from living!”

 

Research has made many amazing developments since then, so much now that newly diagnosed people are being told that not much in their lives has to change; they just need to know where their numbers are and how much insulin flow take for those different numbers. We can even program those numbers into a pump and have it do the dosing for us (although not completely without thought from us).

We now have faster acting insulins that instead of having to wait 30 minutes after taking them to even start eating, we now only have to wait 5 minutes. We have what is called a Continuous Glucose Monitoring system (or CGM for short) that can tell us our levels every five minutes, which helps a lot given it can predict a high or a low before they occur, and we can correct the issue before it becomes an issue.

In fact this year, with any luck, I will get to obtain the new diabetes pump, with the first ever closed loop system on it! Both my doctor (who is also diabetic) and I are rather excited for this and are not so patiently waiting. There’s still always planning and calculating everything. It helps, but it’s not a cure. All of these advancements sound amazing and are fantastic, but it’s still a heavy load to carry.

Diabetes Won’t Stop Me From Living

I will keep fighting. I am strong. I hope to one day be able to say “I used to have diabetes.” And because of all this, I remind myself while I may have diabetes, it does NOT have me.


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