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Question:

From New Delhi, India:

My 18 year old sister was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes just about a week ago. It came in as a big shock, although the doctor says that with proper care she would be able to lead a normal life.

I have been searching the Internet for more information and have been very discouraged by the what I have seen. As a diabetic could develop eyesight, foot, nerves, etc., related problems and other life-threatening diseases.

I have a few questions and I will be very grateful if you could answer them.

  1. Will she be able to lead a normal long life and more importantly what is the quality of life going to be?
  2. Will she be able to have kids after marriage?
  3. What is the percentage of diabetic patients who develop major complications due to diabetes?
  4. How do we mentally prepare her to face this challenge?
  5. What is the hope from the new developments that are talking place?
I know that these are a lot of questions but I will really appreciate if you could take the time out to answer them in detail. It would mean a lot to me.

I would also like to hear the comments of other readers.

embrocia@nda.vsnl.net.in

Answer:

I can tell you love your sister very much. I will try to address each of your questions.

  1. To call a life that involves chronic disease management "normal" is not quite accurate. However, your sister's life need not be burdensome or gloomy. She will have to live her life consciously. By that I mean she will need to pay attention to details of meal planning, exercise, and medication: paying attention to the whole of life and being aware of each component.

  2. There is no reason why your sister cannot have children simply because she has diabetes. Her blood sugars will need to be in good control prior to conception and throughout her pregnancies. In general, I have found women with diabetes were the most vigilant in taking good care of themselves during pregnancy. They want healthy babies.

  3. The DCCT (Diabetes Control and Complications Trial) study found that the negative outcomes of diabetes can be greatly impacted by good blood sugar control. Please read up on this study; it will help ease your anxiety.

  4. Quality of life involves attitude and adjustment for everyone. No one goes through this world free of difficulties. Diabetes is at least something one can choose to manage well. With the love of a family, good medical care, and strength of spirit, your sister should enjoy an excellent quality of life. Ninety percent of diabetes management takes place in one's own perception of it and decisions about it.

  5. Finally, please know that the researchers are doing all they can to master this condition and find a cure. Keep current on what is happening!

Encourage your sister but do not nag. She is still the same person inside and she needs her loved ones to believe she has a future filled with promise -- not fear.

CMB

Original posting 16 Mar 1998
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms and Daily Care

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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