According to American Diabetes Association, approximately 29.1 million Americans were affected by diabetes in 2012 alone, with 1/3 (79 million) of the nation diagnosed with pre-diabetes.
Changing the reality of countless millions of America, this disease targets individuals without discrimination, including countless children and young adults who are faced with a life filled with needles, medicinal regimens, and daily struggles to maintain a balance between exercise and nutrition, while living with juvenile diabetes.
Illustrating the daily struggle that comes with Type I diabetes, 15-year-old Whitby Holden, who was diagnosed two years ago, shared her own personal account of how she has struggled with the disease.
I have been living with juvenile diabetes for a little over two years, said Whitby. I was shocked and scared when I found out that I had diabetes, I didn’t really know what it was. I was just really thirsty and tired one summer and I got sick and started throwing up. My parents took me to our local practitioner, Shari Tidwell, and she decided to check my sugar.
Afterwards, she said that my sugar was too high to register, and she sent me to Le Bonheur. I spent the next two days in the hospital learning as much as I could about diabetes, and how it would change my life.
Fatigue and extreme thirst are two major symptoms I suffer from. I get really hungry too. I have to check my sugar before every meal, and watch my sugar for fluctuation. Eating snacks between meals is very helpful.
Illustrating telltale signs of fluctuation in her sugar level, Whitby talked briefly about some of the symptoms she experiences on a regular basis.
When my blood sugar is low, I get really shaky and tired and sometimes nauseated. When my blood sugar is too high I am very thirsty and usually develop a headache. Again, you really have to maintain a balance, said Whitby.
Whitby stated that no one else in her family has ever been diagnosed with Type I diabetes, and while diabetes, in many cases, is an inherited trait (1:10 ratio), the root cause of Type I diabetes is currently unknown.
Its a lifestyle change. You have to constantly be on top of your health, said Whitby. I stay very active with dance classes, but I do have to count carbohydrates. I used a Calorie King application on my phone when I first got started. I also had to be a lot more aware of how many calories I was taking in per meal.
I am actually really grateful for my situation. It has taught me a lot of different things. I know that most people wouldnt say that, but living a life with Type I diabetes has allowed me to live life without taking for granted a lot of things. While living with Type I diabetes never gets easier, it does get better. I am glad that I dont have to go through it alone. My family is the greatest support system that I could ask for.