Our first son was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago when he was 17 months old.
We built the tracking app so we could better manage his blood sugars. Then in January this year our second son, who is 9, was diagnosed. If you recently ‘acquired’ diabetes you know that usually means a lousy time in the emergency room and 8 to 10 days in a hospital bed thinking about the rest of your life having to manage this new chronic illness. There are ways of describing this feeling that are not fit to print.
We were obviously devastated when both our kids got diabetes, but we have hope.
We used the tracking app and a 45 minute doctor’s appointment to keep our second son out of hospital. He was skateboarding the day after diagnosis.
This is not going to be the story for everyone and we advise every person to make sure they get proper attention. However patients empowered to manage their health is the future of diabetes. That’s why we’re building mumoActive.
When you’re first diagnosed you will run the risk of more hypos (low blood sugars).
For a while after getting diabetes, your body is still producing insulin – and sometimes sporadically depending on the individual. It can be dangerous if you have too many hypos or you don’t catch them in time. Our trick to catching low blood sugars in time is to test often (we do it in under every 2 hours in the waking day). We track readings and learn from them how our kids’ bodies are working.
What’s a low blood sugar?
In Europe they say 3.5mmol/l. In the UK they say 4.0. We were told by our doctor that lower than 3.3 and your cognitive abilities become impaired: it becomes hard to focus and think and when it gets severe you may wind up needing emergency assistance.
BUT if you catch low blood sugars quickly, our users have told us it’s pretty straightforward to bounce back into range and they feel fine in short order.
Five things to keep in mind (among many):
- Diabetes IS manageable. You can do this. If it’s your children who are diagnosed, you can give them control and let them get on with the rest of their lives.
- When first diagnosed you likely will have more low blood sugars because your body is still producing insulin.
- Test a lot. Track your readings. And learn from the results. You don’t have to use mumoActive, but it’s free and it’s built for you to enter information quickly and get on with whatever else you would rather be doing. We use blood sugar readings to know when to give corrective insulin doses for high blood sugars or use carbs in certain kinds of foods to bounce blood sugars on their way down.
- Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. It’s reasonable to feel uncertain of your control in the beginning. Get stuck in. Keep track. And learn from your results. Everyone’s body is different, but with the software tools coming available today – and on the near horizon – we think you will be able to run your body like finely tuned machine.
- Find your networks. Check out diabetes groups on Facebook. Or follow #t1d, #doc or @OurDiabetes on Twitter. You can learn a lot – fast – by connecting with others in the same situation.
If you have questions about any of this, send us a message. We’re a patient-led initiative, so we’re not doctors, but we’re happy to share our experiences so you can build a diabetes management strategy that works for you. – Sheldon