Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic condition where your pancreas produces little to no insulin. It typically appears in adolescence like it did with me. It happens when your immune system destroys cells in your pancreas called beta cells (which make insulin). Being a Type 1 Diabetic means my pancreas does not work at all and produces no insulin. I am constantly dependent on myself to administer my own insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps move sugar (or glucose) into your bodies tissues and the cells in your body use it as fuel. Damaged beta cells like the ones in Type 1 Diabetics throw everything off because glucose does not move into your cells due to insulin not being present. Instead, it builds up in your blood and starves your cells (causing high glucose levels). High blood sugar, or high glucose levels, can lead to dehydration, weight loss, diabetic ketoacidosis (also known as DKA), and damage the body.
Over a period of time diabetes can affect the different parts of the body. One of these parts is the vagus nerve which controls how fast your stomach empties. When it is damaged your digestion slows down and food stays in your stomach longer than it should. This then caused Diabetic Gastroparesis. Some of the side effects are having high glucose levels and trouble controlling them, nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, weight loss, and loss of appetite.
Now that I have told you a little about the diseases I battle with on a daily basis, let me tell you some about the Diabetes Alert Dog you will be helping get specifically trained for me.
Diabetic Alert Dogs are trained to alert diabetic owners in advance of low (hypoglycemia) or high (hyperglycemia) blood sugars before they become dangerous. They are trained to alert to the chemical change produced by the low and high blood sugars when they happen. Our bodies have a unique makeup of organic chemicals which have very distinct smells that are unable to be detected by humans. The training can be long but very much worth it and potentially save a life.
Side Note - Diabetic Alert Dogs are considered service animals due to the Americans With Disabilities Act.
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