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loe and the Beta BUddiea

EXplain Type 1 DiabeteS

Hi! My name is Joe.

I am 7 years old.

I love to play soccer. Shooting hockey pucks on goal makes me smile. Anything that requires continual bodily motion with an element of danger keeps me engaged. I construct space ships, jail scenes, and coast guard boats with my Legos. I enjoy reading. I like to watch movies and play video games.

I have brown hair and brown eyes.


I have Type 1 Diabetes.

I bet you have lots of questions about diabetes and the equipment you see me using. Meet my BUDDIES, Beta Boy and Beta Girl. We will do our best to explain type 1 diabetes to you and we will show you some of Joe's cool gear.

What is Type 1 Diabetes Anyway?

Type 1 diabetes is when your body does not make the hormone called insulin.

Ah ... what the heck is a hormone and what is Insulin?

A hormone is a substance made by an organ in your body that then travels 'through your blood stream to make something happen in another part of your body.

Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas. Insulin is needed by the cells in your body to be able to change the food you eat into energy.

Where is the pancreas? What does it look like anyway?

The pancreas is located deep in your abdomen (tummy), sandwiched between your stomach and your spine.

The pancreas looks kind of long and bumpy. Don't you think?

So, what does this "No Insulin Business" mean for Joe?

Fortunately, researchers discovered how to make insulin in 1921. Joe takes insulin to help control his diabetes. He takes it continuously through his insulin pump.

Joe wears the insulin pump in a pack (called a pump pack) that is around his waist. The pump delivers insulin to Joe through the tubing 24 hours a day. Every time Joe eats, we count the carbohydrates (carbs) in his food so that we can figure out the correct dose of insulin to give Joe by using his pump.

How do you count carbs? And what is a carb?

Well "carbohydrate" is a word meaning starches and sugars. Carbohydrates are the main energy source in the foods we eat. Examples of carbohydrates include milk, bananas, and bread.

Many food items that Joe eats must be weighed and measured to figure out the carbohydrate count. Once we know how many carbohydrates Joe is going to eat, we can program that number into his insulin pump. The pump will then tell us how much insulin to give Joe so that h is body con use the "energy" from the foods he eats. Make sense?

How do you know the medicine, the insulin, is working?

We check Joe's blood sugar several times a day. If Joe is getting an appropriate amount of insulin to cover his food, his blood sugar will be within a certain range like 80 to 180. A

person with a functioning pancreas has a blood .sugar of about 80 to 120.

The machine used to check Joe's blood sugar is called a "Glucometer". The finger poker is called a "lancing device".


You may also notice that Joe wears a white device on his arm we have named this device "Dexter". "Dexter" is a Continuous Glucometer. The Continuous Glucometer is another way to measure Joe's blood sugar number. Sometimes you will hear "Dexter" beep and vibrate. These beeps are telling us that Joe's blood sugar may be going out of the normal range (80 to 180).


What happens if J oe's blood sugar goes too high or too low?

When Joe's blood sugar drops too low he can become very tired, grumpy, hungry, shaky, sweaty and/or confused. It is important to let an adult know if you think Joe might be low. Joe must eat sugar when he is low.

When Joe's blood sugar is high he gets really thirsty and his body may not feel too good. Joe needs more insulin when he is high.

How did Joe get diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes is not like a cold, you cannot catch it from someone else. It is an Autoimmune Disorder. Joe's immune cells got confused and attacked the cells in his pancreas that produce insulin.

My Grandma has Diabetes!!! She takes a pill. Will Joe ever be able to just take a pill for his Diabetes?

Unfortunately, no. Joe has a different type of Diabetes than your Grandma. Joe will always need insulin.


What Joe and I want you to remember.

Joe is just like you. He loves Second Grade. He plays hard on the playgrol:lnd. Soccer at recess is a blast. He is into reading and writing. Music, Art, French, and P.E. are loads of fun too. He is a kid. He has brown hair. He has brown eyes. He also, just so happens to have Type 1 Diabetes.

For my exuberant Number I, Type 1 Child. I love you Joe.

A special "Thank You" to Hiawatha Elementary School for their commitment to excellence in caring for children with Type 1 Diabetes.