ATLANTA, Ga. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — More than 200,000 children are living with type one diabetes in the U.S. Meet three young women who have managed the disease since childhood and are now dedicating their lives to helping families dealing with diabetes.
These three nurses have more in common than their career choice.
“I was diagnosed at 16 months old with type 1 diabetes,” shared Kate Lucas, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“I was 11 years old,” shared Kelly Alladina, Certified Diabetes Educator, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“I was 8 years old,” shared Jamie Hamilton, Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
All three were treated at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Now they work here helping kids with diabetes.
“The nurses that were at the bedside and helping to take care of me here I knew that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up to make a difference,” explained Kate.
Kate became a pediatric nurse practitioner and says when a child is diagnosed it can be overwhelming. She says, parents, family support is critical.
“Be as involved as possible, even when they don’t want your involvement,” Kate continued.
Kelly was in middle school when she was diagnosed.
“Going back to school and feeling very odd about it, feeling kind of different,” exclaimed Kelly.
Now a certified diabetes educator, Kelly coaches parents on new technology that makes managing the disease much easier, such as insulin pumps and glucose sensors.
“If the blood sugar goes below 80 it’s gonna alarm, or if it goes above 200 it’s gonna alarm,” Kelly continued.
Jamie works with the sickest children in the pediatric intensive care unit and admits she was afraid of needles back then.
“For the longest time, I would always want my brother to do my shots,” shared Jamie.
All three agree on one thing: don’t let diabetes rule your life.
Kate said, “Live your life and just incorporate the diabetes into that.”
Kelly, Kate and Jamie say parents need to be aware of the symptoms of diabetes in children, including extreme thirst, frequent urination and weight loss. If you notice any of these symptoms in your child seek medical help immediately. For more information, please visit https://www.choa.org/medical-services/diabetes.
Contributors to this news report include: Janna Ross, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.
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FIGHTING DIABETES STARTS WITH THREE SPECIAL NURSES
BACKGROUND: Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that occurs when a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, the hormone that controls blood-sugar levels. T1D develops when the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. The cause of this attack is still being researched, however scientists believe the cause may have genetic and environmental components. Type 1 diabetes (sometimes known as juvenile diabetes) affects children and adults, though people can be diagnosed at any age. With a typically quick onset, T1D must be managed with the use of insulin, either via injection or insulin pump. Some 1.25 million Americans are living with T1D, including about 200,000 youth (less than 20 years old) and more than 1 million adults (20 years old and older).40,000 people are diagnosed each year in the U.S. and 5 million people in the U.S. are expected to have T1D by 2050, including nearly 600,000 youth.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT: There are several blood tests for T1D in children. One is random blood sugar test. This is the primary screening test for T1D. A blood sample is taken at a random time. Regardless of when your child last ate, a random blood sugar level of 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 11.1 millimoles per liter (mmol/L), or higher suggests diabetes. There is also the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This test indicates your child’s average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Specifically, the test measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells (hemoglobin). An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates diabetes. Finally, there is a fasting blood sugar test. A blood sample is taken after your child fasts overnight. A fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) or higher indicates T1D. Treatment for T1D is lifelong and can include blood sugar monitoring, insulin therapy, healthy eating and regular exercise — even for kids. As your child grows and changes, so will his or her diabetes treatment plan. Work closely with your child’s diabetes treatment team doctor, diabetes educator and dietitian to keep your child’s blood sugar level as close to normal as possible.
(Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-1-diabetes-in-children/symptoms-causes/syc-20355306 and https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-1-diabetes-in-children/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355312)
NEW THERAPY FOR DOGS SHOWS PROMISE: What if instead of daily insulin injections or wearing pumps, just getting a shot every few months could reverse Type 1 diabetes for you or your dog? A collagen formulation mixed with pancreatic cells, developed by Purdue University researchers in collaboration with the Indiana University School of Medicine, is the first minimally invasive therapy to successfully reverse Type 1 diabetes within 24 hours and maintain insulin independence for at least 90 days, a pre-clinical animal study shows. For diabetic pets, the next step is a pilot clinical study in dogs with naturally occurring Type 1 diabetes, which will be conducted in collaboration with Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “We plan to account for differences from mouse to human by helping dogs first. This way, the dogs can inform us on how well the treatment might work in humans,” said Clarissa Hernandez Stephens, first author on the work and a graduate researcher in Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. This also means that dogs and humans could potentially benefit from the same cure: new set of pancreatic cells to replace the clusters of cells, called islets, that aren’t releasing insulin to monitor blood glucose levels.
* For More Information, Contact:
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Ayana Isles / PR, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
404-785-KIDS (5437) Ayana.Isles@choa.org / (404) 785-7577