Diabetes: A disease that occurs when the body
is not able to use sugar, as it should. The body needs sugar for growth
and energy for daily activities. It gets sugar when it changes food into
glucose. A hormone called insulin is needed for the glucose to be taken
up and used by the body. Diabetes occurs when the body cannot make use
of the glucose in the blood for energy because either the pancreas is not
able to make enough insulin or the insulin that is available is not effective.
The beta cells in areas of the pancreas called the islets of Langerhans
usually make insulin.
Diabetic Coma: A severe emergency in which a person is unconscious
because the blood glucose is too low or too high.
Glucose: A simple sugar found in the blood. It is the body's main
source of energy.
Diabetic Coma: A severe emergency in which a person is unconscious because the blood glucose is too low or too high.
Glucose: A simple sugar found in the blood. It is the body's main source of energy.
Dustin: One day as I was coming home from the courts I saw an ambulance in our driveway. I went inside the house. They were putting my Mom on a stretcher. I overheard an EMT say that Mom was in a diabetic coma because she had diabetes that was out of control. My dad looked concerned; he sent me to my grandma's house to inform her of the situation. I cruised up to Grandma's house a few blocks away.
Grandma: Hello Dustin! What's the matter? You look like you saw a ghost! Tell me what happened.
Dustin: Grandma, they just took mom to the hospital, and my dad sent me over here to tell you! I was just coming home from playin' ball, and I saw an ambulance at the house, so I ran inside. My dad wouldn't say what was going on, but I overheard an EMT say that mom wasn't controlling her diabetes and was in some kind of coma. What is Diabetes?
Grandma: Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not control blood glucose levels and use glucose properly.
Dustin: Is she going to die?
Grandma: Not if they get her to a hospital and control her blood glucose level right away. I'm sure she will be okay. I know because I have diabetes too. I have what the doctors call Type II diabetes.
Dustin: What does that mean?
Grandma: Type II diabetes happens because the cells in the body are not responsive or are less responsive to insulin.
Dustin: How many types of diabetes are there?
Grandma: There are several types of diabetes that I know of. Type II diabetes usually happens when you're an adult. The other types of diabetes are Type I diabetes and gestational diabetes.
Dustin: Why do people get diabetes, Grandma?
Grandma: There are lots of reasons people get diabetes. I think the main reasons are either no insulin in the blood or poor responsiveness to the insulin. It is a disease of metabolism (how we use food) not something you catch.
Dustin: How did you find out you had diabetes?
Grandma: I had some of the signs and symptoms of diabetes. My hands and feet were constantly numb, and whenever I would get a cut or bruise, it would take a long time to heal. I also had to use the bathroom a lot and I was thirsty all the time.
Dustin: What are my chances of getting it?
Grandma: Well, I'm not sure how many people have diabetes, but I do know that because we are Native Americans, we are at a higher risks than non-native people.
Dustin: Are there ways people can help prevent diabetes?
Grandma: There are lots of ways for everyone to help. For example people with diabetes can live a healthy lifestyle by controlling their diabetes and supporting others. People who do not have diabetes can help by educating themselves and informing others. These people can be doctors, diabetic coordinators, researchers, students, family and friends. It is good to get more than one perspective of the disease.
Dustin: Where would I find these people?
Grandma: Dustin you sure are asking a lot of questions. I have an idea. Why don't we set up some times with people that know a lot about diabetes. That way we can learn more about diabetes together. And if I can't answer your questions, they may be able to explain in detail and answer them.