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2 Your Health Raising a child with diabetes

2 Your Health Raising a child with diabetes

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CHARLESTON, SC - "You have juvenile diabetes."  Not something you hear every day and not something you ever want your child to hear.
But those were the words told to Dr. Patricia Lessane and her 10 year old daughter.  Endocrinologists at the Medical University of South Carolina explained that Aniyah's pancreas was not functioning properly.  It was not producing enough insulin to support her body.  She would need diabetes medicine for the rest of her life.   Lessane says she realized something was wrong when she noticed Aniyah had started losing weight.   At first she was not concerned. 

"I wanted her to be more active and not focus on dieting...and she was a part of the heart healthy program at MUSC that encouraged more encouraged more activity," Lessane said.  She attributed the weight decrease to the increase in Aniyah's physical activities.

"(She was playing) soccer and then taking swimming lessons and then her dance class at the Cannon Street Y," Lessane said.

Aniyah had lost 40 pounds within 7 months. Quick weight loss coupled with constant thirst raised a warning flag.

A visit to the pediatrician pushed together pieces of Aniyah's health mystery.  "The endocrinologist sent us straight to the emergency room at which time her blood sugar level was almost 400," Lessane said.  The diagnosis juvenile diabetes type 1.  The Chief of Endocrinology at MUSC, Dir. Deborah Bowlby says Aniyah's pancreas was failing her.

"Diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas isn't making enough insulin which results in higher blood sugars," Dir. Bowlby said.

The nurse at Aniyah's school admits it's a team effort.  "I come in as a coach as well as her teacher coaching her through what foods are better for her and better choices stay within her target range," Sally Vee Zervos said.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas loses the ability to produce insulin, a hormone essential to turning food into energy. It strikes both children and adults suddenly and is not - related to diet and lifestyle. It requires constant carbohydrate counting, blood-glucose testing. It means that Aniyah will be on insulin for the rest of the life.   Lessane says her daughter is committed to enjoying her life despite a diabetes diagnosis.
"I have to say if don't think I would have handled this diagnosis the way she has handled it.  She never once complained in the hospital never flinched when she was poked and prodded.  Ultimately she will thrive and will continue to thrive and we will continue to thrive as a family."

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