Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Living with Childhood Diabetes in Alaska
CBS 11’s Alexis Fernandez takes a look at one little girl living with Type 1 diabetes
Nearly 67,000 children and adults in Alaska are living with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
It’s a chronic disease in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to break down sugar to create energy.
People with Type 2 diabetes, which is far more common in adults produce insulin but aren’t able to break it down.
Kearstyn Cotten, 7, is just one of thousands of children living with Type 1 diabetes, known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes.
Cotten was diagnosed with the disease a year and half ago after her parents noticed a change in her diet.
“We were going through a lot of drinking a lot, she would be the kid that I would send to school with a water bottle and she wouldn’t touch it,” said Denise Cotten, Kearstyn’s mother.
Her parents then tested her sugar levels, which were four times the normal average.
“She eats everything any other kid would eat, we just have to know how much it is. Everything has to be weighed and measured in terms of carbohydrates,” she said.
Kearstyn has to check her blood sugar several times a day, and has a glucose monitor and insulin pump to help when her sugar levels are out of balance.
It’s a new routine that keeps her alive.
“Without an outside source either through injections or an insulin pump, she'll starve, it’s just the reality of it,” said her mother.
The ADA estimates that it cost more than $42,000 per patient to treat diabetes in Alaska.