Changing type one to type none

Diabetes is a serious disease that affects millions of people worldwide. There are many ways to treat it, but so far no way to cure it.


Olivia Biondo

Many people spent one Saturday morning in September on Main Street raising money and helping to find a cure for diabetes with JDRF, an organization made to find a cure for juvenile diabetes.

Olivia Biondo, Staff Reporter

Each year in the US, 30,000 people are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a serious disease in which the pancreas inside your body is unable to produce any insulin. Without the hormone insulin, bodies cells can not absorb glucose, or sugar, from the blood.

One of the many things you constantly hear from people is that you can develop diabetes just from eating too much sugar, but that is in fact false. Diabetes is developed genetically and possibly environmentally.

Type 1 diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes or childhood diabetes. It is diagnosed most commonly in children, but can also be diagnosed in adulthood, although it is extremely rare. But just because it is rare does not mean it is uncommon. Kids and people diagnosed at a young age take the disease with them as they grow, and until there is a cure, the disease will always be there.

Matthew Lunneen knows full well how diabetes can affect someone’s life. He was diagnosed at the age of 20, while in his junior year of college. Now, Lunneen works at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis as an endocrinologist.

“Type 1 diabetes, which is very different from type 2 diabetes, can be diagnosed at any time over the human lifespan. There are peaks in diagnosis between the ages of 5-7 and 9-11 though there is no solid data to suggest why it occurs more often at those ages,” Lunneen said.

Being diagnosed as a teenager causes an abundance of other problems, people who are diagnosed at a very young age grow up with the disease, it is something they have always known and dealt with. But for a teenager recently diagnosed, it is a whole lifestyle change. They go from doing whatever they want and eating whenever and whatever they want to monitoring how they feel, checking their blood sugar multiple times, and counting the carbs in every food they eat.

Having a family member that has type 1, it is so plainly seen that it changes lives. Having one day be completely normal, and then the next couple days being in the hospital trying to learn how to manage it and be able to take care of the people you love can be scary at first, but it just takes practice to get used to.

“I’m very inspired by the kids I see with diabetes. Being diagnosed as a young adult is very different from being diagnosed as an adolescent. Had I been diagnosed in high school or younger I’m certain I would be a very different patient than I am now. There are so many challenges adolescents and teens have to face and diabetes only makes those challenges that much more daunting,” Lunneen said.

Being diagnosed can influence people in positive ways and negative ways. For instance, people diagnosed can feel trapped, stressed and pressured with the disease. But taking their experiences and struggles, they will be able to overcome those feelings and turn them into something great, such as becoming an endocrinologist to help others that also have the disease, or a counselor of a sort that helps families understand and manage their diabetes.

It is true that when one person in the family is diagnosed, the whole family is diagnosed. It is a team effort, the rest of the family members must be aware of the disease and know how to take care of it. They have to know how to give insulin, what to do if the person with diabetes passes out, how to deal with high and low blood sugars and how much medicine to give at a time. Although it can be very challenging, it is a good feeling to know that you are able to help and keep the person with diabetes safe and secure, no matter what happens.

“Having diabetes and having the ability to help others with diabetes is a constant source of pride for me,” Lunneen said.