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Recognizing the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes before it's too late
November is Diabetes Awareness Month. You may think that diabetes is a disease that affects mostly older people, but Sinclair Cares reveals how Type 1 diabetes can dramatically affect the lives of many children and their families.
Daniel Burns is 13 and is tough on the soccer field and in life.
“I kind of think of it like I’m a normal kid, which I am,” Daniel said.
Daniel has Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes.
It strikes one in 400 children and can also start in adulthood.
“Nobody 100 percent understands why the body does this,” Dr. Debra Counts explained. “So it's not that somebody ate too much candy and not enough broccoli.”
But something triggers the body to develop antibodies that destroy the cells that make insulin, a hormone necessary to break down the food we eat and nourish our bodies.
“Without insulin, basically the cells of your body are starving,” Counts said.
Recognizing the symptoms early can avoid serious complications.
“So if a child starts to drink more and urinate more, hopefully their mom notices early on and gets them to the doctor, pediatrician or emergency room early on in the course,” Counts said.
Daniel spent three days at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore where he and his parents could learn to manage a disease for the rest of his life.
“The responsibility that Daniel has to keep himself healthy and alive each day is just unbelievable that we ask that of a kid,” said Daniel’s father.
Even though Daniel has missed his share of birthday parties and sleepovers he has an important message for other kids with diabetes.
“Just be yourself and don't think that you are any different than any other kids,” Daniel encourages.
Here's some positive news, there is a lot of research working on a cure for Type 1 diabetes and there are some promising clinical research trials.
Many experts are hopeful we could see a cure in our lifetime.