Living with Type 1 Diabetes and avoiding dangers

Living with Type 1 Diabetes and avoiding dangers (Source: NBC News)
Living with Type 1 Diabetes and avoiding dangers (Source: NBC News)
Updated: May. 1, 2018 at 9:30 AM CDT
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WSFA/NBC - Type 1 diabetes can be deadly if it goes undiagnosed. It is manageable, but it requires constant monitoring.

The Livingston family knows all about it. Their twins, Aly and Brooke, sometimes don't make it through the night without a blood sugar level issue.

"It alarmed at 3 a.m. and we had to get up, check her blood sugar, and give her juice," said mother Courtney Livingston.

With Type 1 diabetes juice and candy can be life-saving. A lot of families use glucose monitors which send off alerts to their phones when blood sugar levels are off. Genetics also plays a role in Type 1 diabetes. When Aly was diagnosed in kindergarten her parents were also worried about her sister Brooke. It wasn't long before Brooke was diagnosed too.

"It is 24/7, 365 days a year. At night time we are managing the disease. You never get a break," Courtney said.

Their mom is worried about their future.

"When they're living by themselves, are they going to wake up? There may not be anyone there to help them. We worry about when they start driving," Courtney said.

Dr. Daniel DeSalvo from Texas Children's Hospital lives with Type 1 diabetes himself. He says the most common warning signs that parents miss are extreme thirst and frequent urination.

"The onset of type 1 diabetes is fairly acute and sudden and the symptoms are often confused with other illnesses," said Dr. DeSalvo. "For example, a viral illness, stomach flu, a urinary tract infection, or a bladder infection."

Doctors say these patients can live a normal life but unlike most kids their age, they are experts on their own health, especially when it comes to blood sugar levels.

Copyright 2018 WSFA 12 News/NBC. All rights reserved.