Type 1 Diabetes is characterized by a deficiency in the body’s production of insulin. Symptoms include eNAMxcessive urination, thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes, and fatigue. While Type 1 Diabetes is less common compared to Type 2 Diabetes –where the body cannot effectively use insulin – living with Type 1 Diabetes is no less of a challenge.
Type 1 Diabetes can affect any age group, but it usually develops in children and teenagers. Estimates show that around 1.1 million children and adolescents worldwide live with Type 1 Diabetes. With children having so much of their lives ahead of them, getting diagnosed with a lifelong condition at an early age can be overwhelming – welling up feelings of shock, anger, sadness, denial, and even guilt.
Ingrid V. Magno, whose son Carlos was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 13, remembers those days all too well.
“Last November 2014, when Carlos was 13 years old, we were shocked to see a drastic change in his appearance due to his sudden weight loss, thinning hair and lethargy. Due to this, he took a lab test in February 2015 where we discovered he had an alarmingly high glucose level. Afterwards, he was immediately rushed to De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute to be admitted. His pediatric endocrinologist told us that it might be a case of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. To confirm the suspicion, he underwent a c-peptide test.”
For parents of children living with diabetes, it’s normal for children to struggle, feel anxious and at times, fed up with all the tasks and skills needed to properly manage the condition. When asked about the everyday challenges of taking care of Carlos, Ingrid painted a picture of the abrupt lifestyle changes that not only happened to Carlos, but also to their entire family:
“Carlos’s condition prompted us to change our lifestyle. For one, his glucose levels would determine what food he eats and what exercises he could do. His changing sugar levels made him more vulnerable to certain complications affecting his overall lifestyle. Diabetes also discouraged him from being active in school activities because he needed to be constantly aware on his current glucose level first.
Before, we monitored his glucose through the blood glucose monitoring (BGM) devices. Every day, my son needed to prick his finger to measure his sugar levels in a specific period. While this was helpful, the main challenge is how can we monitor his condition in continuously in real-time.”
However, diabetes should not stop anyone from being able to live life better. As children with diabetes get older, it is important for them to learn the skills and develop the confidence needed to independently manage their conditions.
For Ingrid, support, guidance, and working with medical professionals made it possible for Carlos to stay on top of his diabetes without having to come at the cost of enjoying his teen life.
“Carlos makes sure he gets proper diet, regular exercise, and check-ups with his diabetologist. Working with our doctor made me realize that diabetes is manageable, my son can live normally, and continue doing what he loves amid the condition.”
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) technology makes it possible to see the bigger picture of how diabetes affects a person. With the ability to measure in real-time, CGM technology provide an extra level of convenience for patients by allowing them to stay on top of their diabetes without the need for constant finger sticks.
Data derived from CGM devices can also help healthcare providers come up with personalized approaches to diabetes care – an important aspect of Carlos’ diabetes management plan that Ingrid touched on when asked on the changes she and her family made to help Carlos with his condition:
“Apart from eating in moderation and regular exercise, we also looked for new ways to monitor my son’s glucose levels accurately and in real-time. According to our doctor, having this data will enable us to adjust my son’s lifestyle seamlessly.”
“Continuous glucose monitoring devices like the Abbott FreeStyle Libre System help my son and me check his glucose without the pain of finger sticks. All he has to do is scan a reader over the sensor on the back of his arm to see his glucose levels anytime, anywhere without having to worry too much.”
Diabetes care is a lifelong process. However, having an inquisitive mindset, solid emotional support, professional help and the proper tools helped Ingrid make a difference in her son’s life These factors are all things she wishes to share with parents of kids who are currently on the same journey.
“One of the things learned is that understanding diabetes is the first step in managing the condition. Let’s not be afraid to consult with a doctor and other professionals to help manage diabetes better. By knowing more about diabetes, we got to understand how to manage my son’s life for the better. Diabetes management can be simplified with the right mindset and tools, such as the Abbott FreeStyle Libre System.”