Category Archives: Type 1 Diabetes

World Diabetes Day

It’s world diabetes day, when we hope people will take note of diabetes and try and learn a little about it.

Back at the turn of the 20th century doctors knew that there was diabetes, but they had not worked out there were more than one kind. The starvation diet was used as a cure all – and it certainly did help lots of very over weight diabetics at the time. Children and thin adults tended to just die.

The starvation diet consisted of black coffee and whiskey or boulon and then vegetables were gradually introduced until the patient was sent home on 2000 calories a day (not starvation obviously).

Although insulin began to be used in the early 1920s which helped prevent quite so many people dying. It wasn’t until 1935 that the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes was discovered by Sir Harold Percival, who published his findings in The Lancet in 1936. Type 1 was thought to be mainly in children and youngsters and was nick named “juvenile diabetes”.

These days 10% of diabetics are type 1 and must use insulin to regulate their body sugars and stay alive. The other 90% have type 2, which sometimes gets so difficult to manage that the person will become insulin dependant.

St Anthony of Padua who died of his diabetes is a patron saint for Diabetics. I have read that  st. Josemaria Escriva is another saint for diabetics.

There’s a lot of difficulties for people with type 1, trying to stay on top of their insulin and glucose and keep those nasty keytones at bay. Spare a thought and a prayer for all diabetics today.

Saints Anthony and Josemaria ora pro nobis




A Catholic Mother’s Kindle: Where are all those books coming from?

What a girl needs now and then, is a quiet five minutes to sit down with a good book and a cup of tea.

Having said that, a certain daughter of mine has declared that there is nothing quite so sad a a cup of tea without a buscuit to dunk in it. Perhaps this is so, but it is not something I find all that tragic (most of the time).

So then, where do I get books for my kindle?

There are plenty of places for free books: Internet Archive has loads of them. Some are better formatted for Kindle than others. I have had problems reading some books that have footnotes, but not so badly that I’ve needed to give up. (I can be quite determined when I put my mind to it).

Project Gutenberg is a gold mine and so far the books I’ve downlaoded from there are fairly well formatted, so I tend to check them out there first and then got to IA if they don’t have them.

There is also the Australian Gutenberg and Gutenberg Canada. So far as I can see these sites don’t offer Kindle ready books, but they are easy enough to convert with the info I gave in a previous post on how to make books Kindle readable.

If you are up to a few convertions there are some great Don Camillo books. If you have never read Don Camillo you have missed a classic. Grab your chance now.

Many Books is another place to find all sorts of wonderful books Including the first two Lord Peter Wimsey tales by the great Dorothy L Saysers.

Then there’s Free Kindle Books which I haven’t really had a chance to look at properly yet.

Got a bit of money? Ignatius Press have many books for your delectation. Sophia Press have a list too, which tends to be linked to but some of the books are carried on Amazon UK.

Also Heritage History have made most of their books Kindle ready for only a couple of dollars each and St Joan of Arc for free.

One of the books I’ve read recently from Project Gutenbery is about the Starvation Diet for Diabetes. Second Edition 1916. This was before insulin was avialable, and going by the case studies in the book it was before there was an understanding of the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

In fact the differnce between types 1 and 2 were not recorded until 1935. Insulin had been given as injection since 1922/23.

The starvation diet was harsh at first but more food was added over time.

The first three days of starvation the patient was to receive only black coffee with a little whiskey in it. The same system was used with children. I noticed that the young patients either adults under 25 or children did not fare so well on this diet and in the case of children were more likely to die.

Although the medic who has written the book is cheerfully optimistic that this diet works well, it plainly did not save many lives of juvinile diabetics. Truly we can see in this little book – that insulin was needed.

Insulin has come on a long way. Josh is pretty stable on his two types of insulin in a way that I remember patients I nursed, had no hope of.

It’s a short book, quick read but fascinating.

Fibromyalgia and other autoimmune diseases; where do they come from?

While many doctors and researchers say that fibro has been around since Job talked of his aching sinews and that diabetes went undiagnosed even as St Anthony of Padua died of it (probably type 2) and that ancient medics like Galen talked of sweet tasting urine (not a modern way of diagnosing thank heaven!) it seems that in modern times these illnesses have reached huge proportions.  Why is this?

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Diabetes Week 13th to 19th

Actually I have no idea what we will do to mark the week. I suppose I should do some extra lessons on type 1 with the children, but I don’t think I’ll get around to it this week.


Anyway I am sure Josh will get up to something.

Nordisk has pulled out of Greece. Hope it doesn’t do that to the UK!

Say a prayer for the diabetics of Greece facing what must be a pretty frightening prospect that Nordisk is pulling out of their health system.

If our own broke country follows Greece and our NHS finds it can’t be bothered to sack people with clipboards and stop so much unnecessary stuff (like abortions) then we might face the same problem. I would be very very scared if Josh couldn’t access his insulin. (He would be scared too.)

I pray that when the cuts come to our NHS it will be where cuts are needed and not to life saving drugs like insulin.

UPDATE Josh tells me Nordisk made a 21% profit last year globally. He learned this off his diabetes forum. Now if they are that financially healthly it seems to me they could try something better than they are offering Greek diabetics right now. Perhaps they could say children and those who are still unstable could keep Novo Rapid and Glargene while the others change over to the older cheaper insulins and the freebie they are offering.

I can see they are trying to offer something to Greece and truly the Greek government and their fiscal irresponsibility are to blame; same as here in the UK; bit the Govt wont suffer over this-people with diabetes will.

Thyroid tests

It was Thyroid Awreness Month last month.

Iona is in the process of having tests for her thyroid function. She has had a couple of blood tests for TSH and on Thursday we went to the hospital for her to have an ultrasound scan of her thyroid. The Children’s is a good hospital (although I do get a bit fed up of the amount of time I seem to spend there!) They were very thourough. At the end of the scan instead of the usual blank faced “The doctor will let you know,” approach we have all come to know and hate, they were up front about what the scan had shown. She has some blood flow problems around the thyroid and some lumps and bumps on it. The radiographer asked another radiographer to double check because he said he was used to smaller children’s thyoids and wondered if he was accurate in what he’d seen.

Anyway, they will send the results to the paediatrician and he will look at them alongside the blood results and hopefully we’ll get some info on what happens next soon.

My guess is Iona will be referred to an adult services endochronologist- at least I hope so as she should have further follow up.

Thyroid problems are more common in families with autoimmune disease and type 1 diabetes is closely associated with thyroid diseases.

We’ll see how ti goes.

World Diabetes Awareness Day

P1010029 It’s World Diabetes Day today. aboutworlddiabetesdaylogo

Here is Josh with his t-shirt, blood glucose monitor reading a surprisingly healthy 7.2!

He has his NovoRapid pen full of lovely insulin.

There is a lot of misunderstanding around diabetes. So I thought I would answer some questions and try and correct some of those misunderstandings.

Josh has Type 1 Diabetes otherwise known as Juvenile or childhood diabetes.  You do not need to be a child to be diagnosed however, Type 1 can start up any time before the age of 35 and in rare cases even later. It is an auto-immune disease and is NOT at all linked with what the person ate.

Type 1 is controlled by injecting insulin and counting carb intake. However in the early months, even up to a year, getting blood sugars under control can be extremely difficult. Josh has been diagnosed 7 months (5th May09) and has nowhere near got regular healthy blood sugars. We are still messing around trying to work out just how much insulin fits his carb intake. It seems to vary by the day.

The symptoms are thirst, weeing a lot, hunger, dry mouth, tiredness, and for a lot of pre-diagnosed type 1 people there is depression and anxiety.

It is apparently more common to be diagnosed in the Winter and Spring.

Once diagnosed the amount of insulin required will vary from patient to patient and in Josh’s case from injection to injection.

He tests his blood glucose about 4 to 8 times a day or more if required depending on activities. From the glucose levels he can work out how many units of Novo Rapid the short acting insulin to inject. He decides this based on food intake and activity-and at the moment this is a hit’n’miss game.

At night he injects a long acting insulin Glargine to get him through to breakfast. He has pens for this which come ready loaded and he dials up the units he requires.

He has to carry glucose tablets and a bottle of sugar loaded Fanta around at all times.

There is no real understanding yet on what triggers type 1 but there is a view there may be a virus and it does have a genetic factor. I have read that siblings of someone with t1d have a 1 in 10 chance of being diagnosed.