I came down with Type 1 Diabetes when I was a child. I remember being in the hospital with my uncle who was then 35-years-old. They let me stay in the adult hospital in the same room as he was in. Even at that early age I understood what the disease was all about.
My parents tried to assure me that all I had to do was stick myself with a needle every day and that was the worst of it. But I knew better. Even though my uncle and I have had diabetes for forty years now, we are both doing well, all things considered. He will turn 75 in January.
When I first went into the hospital, they gave me a couple of books to read on taking care of your diabetes. Then they gave me an orange to practice giving shots to. They said that the skin of the orange was very similar to that of human skin.
Things were a lot different back then. There were no home tests for blood glucose, you had to pee on a paper strip and watch what color it turned. It was very inaccurate because different people “spilled” sugar into their urine at different rates. So my test strip could be a lot darker than yours (indicating more sugar) and we could both could have the same blood sugar levels.
Back then you had to really watch what you ate. All the food had to be measured on a scale. We also had to use reusable needles and syringes. You had to boil them in a pan of water between each use.
Today, a lot more things have become more convenient for the diabetic. It’s much easier to control and avoid complications than it was back then. But it will still kill you eventually.
According to Medical News Today: “Although death (mortality) rates for patients with diabetes type 1 are falling, they are still seven times higher than in the rest of the population, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh wrote in the medical journal Diabetes Care.”
Females with diabetes are 13 times more likely to die prematurely and African Americans are 50% more likely to suffer the complications of diabetes than Whites. They, as well as Hispanics also have higher rates of diabetes.
The authors of the study cite advances in diabetes care in the last 20 years as being responsible for the increase in life expectancy in people with Type 1 diabetes.
These include high blood pressure drugs that help prevent kidney disease, A1C testing that shows the patient’s blood sugar levels over the past 3 months or so, and blood glucose monitors that allow the patient to test his or her blood sugars at home and adjust the insulin injections accordingly.