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London News Did you take a minute? Helping you understand type 1 diabetes



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By NANCY M. JOHNSEN
DO YOU TALK?

Since November is a national month of diabetes, it's a good time to raise awareness about this condition, which affects 30.3 million Americans, about 5% of whom suffer from type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is best described as an autoimmune disorder where the person's body destroys pancreatic beta cells, insulin-producing cells. Without insulin to allow the transfusion of blood glucose into the cells of the body, blood sugars grow to unhealthy levels.

Although 70 percent of type 1 diabetes cases are diagnosed before the age of 30, diagnosis of type 1 diabetes can occur at any age. Type 1 diabetes is more common in children. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, more than 18,000 young people under the age of 20 are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes every year.

The goal for these individuals is to keep their blood sugar as normal as possible to reduce the complications associated with high blood sugar. There are different blood sugar targets depending on the age of the individual.

A healthy lifestyle that includes good food choices and exercise is essential along with age-appropriate self-management of the situation. There are new advances with insulin, insulin delivery systems and blood glucose monitoring. Healthcare providers have long-acting insulin, fast-acting, fast-acting and intermediate-acting. There is a wide variety of glycometrics to control blood glucose levels. They come in many shapes and sizes, price ranges, audio technology, graphs, touch screens and data downloads on computers and phones. The number of diabetics using insulin pumps is increasing daily, with the latest progress being to add a sensor that tells a person if their sugar ranges up or down. This technology uses intermediate glucose readings, not blood glucose measurements. Finally, diets for Type 1 diabetics have changed focus on consistent carbohydrates and carbohydrate counting against alternative dietary habits of the past.

How do you choose all this information if you are a newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic and develop a self-management plan that suits your lifestyle? Work with your healthcare provider, educate and develop a team for which you can ask for help. Your team should include a healthcare provider, an endocrinologist, a certified diabetes educator and a registered dietitian. Your team may also include a podiatrist, ophthalmologist, nephrologist, dentist or mental health professional.

Do not turn your back on diabetes. Whether you are a parent of a child who is a diabetic, teen or adult. if you have a diabetic for many years or have recently been diagnosed, stay trained and make sure you have the most up-to-date information and tools. As one patient said, "Learn to think like a pancreas". To find the recognized diabetes educator and the recognized diabetes program that is closest to you, visit the American Diabetes Association at https://www.diabeteseducator.org/.

Local resources

Recognized by the American Association of Diabetes Trainers, the UR Medicine Noyes Health diabetes self-management program is staffed with a trained RN diabetes educator and diabetes trainer RN. The program is available near the house at Geneseo, Dansville, Hornell, and three health care offices. For more information, call (585) 335-4355.

Join me during November as I explain the types of diabetes, new developments in treatment options and management tools.

Nancy M. Johnsen, RN, is a certified diabetes educator and coordinator of the Diabetes and Health Education Program at UR Medicine Noyes Health in Dansville. Johnsen writes the column "Got a minute?" for Lorraine Wichtowski, community health trainer at Noyes Health, during November. For more information on diabetes, it can be accessed at (585) 335-4355.

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