Type I Diabetes

Type one diabetes is a form of diabetes mellitus that influences the amount of glucose found in ones blood stream. When those without diabetes eat, and take in carbohydrates the body regulates how much glucose is allowed to stay within the blood stream. When the amount of glucose in the blood is high, the body releases a hormone known as insulin. Insulin causes cells in the skeletal muscles and fat tissues to absorb glucose from the blood. Thus this reduces the amount of glucose in the blood. People with this form of diabetes known as juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes is a chronic condition where the pancreas does not secrete insulin. Many people do not realize just how hard it is dealing with this form of diabetes. People with this condition not only have to watch what they eat but have to give themselves either an insulin shot or have an insulin pump that they use about five times a day. This condition also forces those with it to check their blood sugar multiple times a day.  I think in our culture sometimes diabetes is thought of as a “fat” person problem. When this is not the case. Many children have type I diabetes and are not able to live a completely normal childhood. I think in medicine many only hear of diabetes when it pertains to watching ones weight so they do not acquire it. That is characterized as type II diabetes. Type I diabetes is less talked about, and therefore many do not know the difference between these two types and therefore do not see the magnitude of the disease. This can make it hard for those with the disease to communicate their suffering.

I think this has an small impact on the management and influence of treatment because I think when people do not feel comfortable enough or do not feel well understood that they will choose to not seek active medical care. I think the way the culture views diabetes as only thought to be for those who are over weight, can subconsciously play a role on how doctors view treatments for the disease. However what plays a larger role is the support one receives from family and friends, this is seen in the video “A Day Living with Diabetes.” Eleven year old Anna speaks and handles this disease in a very mature manner, using the insulin pump tracking the amount of carbohydrates consumed, checking blood sugar, and knowing when to lay down when her blood sugar is high and she is tired. Her strength steams from those around her teaching her how to treat this disease and how to handle it. Without her family acknowledging her illness and taking the time to speak with her and show her how she can still live a good childhood Anna would not be able to do all the things she does.


I believe their is a huge connection with belief and healing. I think this idea of believing something fully, and actually then feeling that way can pertain to many different illnesses. This was seen in the film “Placebo: Cracking the Code,” where both a woman with depression believed she was given medication and then actually overcame her depression, and a man who underwent a fake surgery because he complained of chronic knee pain  and came out of that surgery saying the pain was gone and stayed gone. These two examples are strong indicators that the mind is critical in any illness, I think this approach could be dangerous in dealing with type I diabetes. However I believe if you someone enacted the placebo effect on a patient, they would probably believe they feel great even though their diabetes was really not treated.



Wikimedia Foundation. “Insulin.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insulin (accessed July 23, 2014).


This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Haley Macko says:

    The biomedical and cultural perceptions I had conceived to be true of Type 1 diabetes are similar to the many misconceptions and myths that majority of our society share. It wasn’t until my biomedical knowledge was fostered through courses taken at Michigan State University that I began to make sense of the truth surrounding this illness. Originally I thought that both types of diabetes were associated with obesity and arose because of consuming too much sugar. This theme furthered supplemented my belief that a person suffering from Type 1 diabetes was forbidden from eating sweet or sugary foods, and that a person’s dietary needs become greatly limited after a diagnosis is made. Another common example of this fallacy was that everyone would be ultimately afflicted with health complications regardless of how well they managed their disease. But one of the biggest misunderstandings that I had thought to be true was that if Type 1 diabetes was handled well that a person could gain control over their illness and would eventually become free of diabetes. And I was previously under the assumption that diabetes wasn’t a severe illness. I believe mass media to be the sole contributor to the perceptions I previously held of this medical illness. Type 1 diabetes is portrayed negatively, and is often exaggerated and parodied in media broadcasts. Television shows and films are just a few influences in my life that perpetuated the myths and misunderstandings that I accepted to be true of Type 1 diabetes, and it was educational institutions that rectified these misrepresentations.

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