Diabetes, My Brother, and My Hope.
When I sit back and think about the disease diabetes I’m pulled into a whirlwind of flashback memories with my older brother Michael who has been living with type 1 diabetes for over twenty years now. I was only four when Michael explained why he had to do the unthinkable and stick a needle into his stomach multiple times a day. After the explanation all I can remember was the most important thing he said, “I will die without it.” As I grew older I began to understand more and more and felt so helpless while I wished I could just take his burden away. The older I got the more we talked and sadly talks turned into battles. I never could understand why one the smartest people I knew didn’t do all he could to prepare for a scary future that he has to face. This is my attempt to help arm himself for the battle that he will forever face. I have researched all I can about this disease from types and statistics to living a better life once diagnosed so that ultimately I can sway my brother into the idea of increasing more pleasant years to his life. Even in the case that he has all this knowledge stuffed into his brain pre paper, then maybe it will help turn understanding into action.
There is nothing black and white about diabetes. There are many cases and it seems every single year they learn more about how this condition affects the body and leads to so many other life threatening illnesses. Not having diabetes I would want to look for signs that would help in an early diagnosis. In all cases of Diabetes the problem people face is the cells ability to facilitate glucose into the cells through the hormone insulin and therefore it all stays in the blood. No sugar means no energy for the cell and ultimately no life. Starting at prediabetes the body’s blood has elevated blood glucose and if not noticed can start to be a problem on the heart and entire circulatory system. According to diabetes.org there are 79 million people living in the United States with prediabetes. That number is frightening if this is the first step for a person in becoming a type 2 diabetic. Symptoms include blurred vision, tingling and numbness in extremities, slow healing cuts and bruising, frequent infections, and finally any symptoms mentioned in type 1 later. Those suffering from type 2 have one of two problems; one is the bodies’ resistance to insulin, or just pure insulin deficiency. Making up the greatest portion of those who have diabetes and is usually seen in the elderly, but its biggest allay is obesity. This again poses another problem with the number of obese children and ever increasing odds of themselves now suffering. Even as odd as it sounds I found the fact that in ethnic populations this number again increases. My brother is a type 1 diabetic a falls into the five to ten percentile off those diagnosed. Symptoms include unusual weight loss, greater hunger and insatiable thirst, and irritability. Like the majority of those diagnosed with type 1 he was fourteen years old. His pancreas decided one day to stop producing insulin and was given the crushing news he had an autoimmune disorder and will for the rest of his life. This in one of the hardest parts for my understanding with attempting to put myself in his shoes and imagine how that must have felt for a child to hear that you now have a terminal illness. I do know that more I attempt to walk in his shoes the more I respect my brother with all his accomplishments. The other case of type 1 is immune cells attacking and destroying the very important cells the pancreas needs to produce insulin. The third and almost seasonal type is Gestational diabetes where a pregnant woman can suffer the symptoms of diabetes and afterwards no longer have any problems. They are however now at high risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 later in life as well as the child being at risk.
Now that I know what this disease was doing I wanted to know the...
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