Diabetes is a growing problem and will contribute to the deaths of two million Americans in the next ten years.
Researchers know obesity can cause type two diabetes, but there is still a lot they need to find out about type one..or juvenile onset diabetes. Type two diabetes accounts for 90% of the cases. It's when the body misuses insulin or doesn't make enough.
The rest of the cases are type one. An auto immune disease in which the body doesn't produce any insulin. It happens to children and young adults and they have to take daily insulin injections to stay alive.
Imagine the pressure looking after one child, let alone two. Six year olds Zane and Gage Risley of Gallatin County Illinois are twins and they're pretty tight. Unfortunately Zane had to follow in his brother's footsteps with type one diabetes. Gage was diagnosed when he was 18 months old. Zane, when he was four and a half. Mom Melissa Risley says, "They'll fight. They'll roll out of a room together, but if you step between them, then you're public enemy number one."
Normally, the hormone insulin allows the cells to absorb glucose from food. With type one diabetes, the body destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. The result is that glucose builds up in the bloodstream damaging blood vessels, nerves and organs. Melissa says, "It's a moment to moment thing, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's tough when you look at them and see they're healthy now, and you know that if you're not there for them, then everything you read about could happen."
So Melissa keeps a constant check on their blood sugar levels and gives them snacks or insulin accordingly. Blood sugar that's two low could result in brain damage. Too much can result in blindness, kidney and nerve damage, heart disease and stroke. It's not something six year olds should have to worry about, and their mom hopes they won't have to forever.
The goal is to raise $60,000 for research at this year's diabetes walk in Evansville. It's this Saturday. The three and half mile walk starts at casino Aztar. Click here to register online.
1115 Mt. Auburn Road
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