An Oklahoma family learns how different Type 1 diabetes is from the more prevalent Type 2

Over the past few years, Rebecca and Gary Dees’ children Brooke, 14, and Braden, 11, have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, a lifelong disease in which there is a high level of sugar, or glucose, in the blood, according to the National Institutes of Health.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: July 6, 2014
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Rebecca Dees worries about her children, often from the moment she wakes up.

It’s the life of a mother with two children with Type 1 diabetes, a frequently misunderstood disease.

“At four or five in the morning when I’m at work, I’m thinking, ‘As soon as they get up they need to check their blood sugar — I hope it wasn’t low because they played outside last night,’ or I’ll think, ‘Oh, the snack they have — I hope it wasn’t over their carb limit,’” Dees, who works at the Goodyear plant, said.

Over the past few years, Rebecca and Gary Dees’ children, Brooke, 14, and Braden, 11, have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, a lifelong disease in which there is a high level of sugar, or glucose, in the blood, according to the National Institutes of Health.

About Type 1 diabetes

Dees has grown frustrated by the people who assume her children developed the disease because they ate too much junk food or that they’ll grow out of it.

Type 1 diabetes in most people is caused when the body’s immune system mistakenly destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is not known what causes this reaction.

However, unlike Type 2 diabetes, there is no demonstrated link between lifestyle and developing Type 1 diabetes, according to the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center. Types 1 and Type 2 diabetes are vastly different in their cause, prognosis, and treatment methods.

Looking back, Dees sees that Brooke showed several symptoms, while Braden did not.

Doctors discovered that Brooke had Type 1 diabetes about two years ago during a doctor appointment about her allergies. Rebecca Dees had to work and asked her mother to take Brooke to the appointment. She didn’t anticipate that later that day, Dees’ mother would call her and tell her that they were admitting Brooke to the hospital. Brooke’s blood sugar level was more than 500.

“It was on a Wednesday — they told us if we had waited until Saturday, she would have been in a coma,” Rebecca Dees said.


by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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At a glance

Early warning signs of Type 1 diabetes

Being very thirsty

Feeling hungry

Feeling tired all the time

Having blurry eyesight

Feeling numbness or feeling tingling in your feet

Losing weight without trying

Urinating more often

Also ...

For other people, these serious warning symptoms may be the first signs of Type 1 diabetes, or they may happen when blood sugar is very high:

Deep, rapid breathing

Dry skin and mouth

Flushed face

Fruity breath odor

Nausea or vomiting, inability to keep down fluids

Stomach pain

Source: MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

At four or five in the morning when I’m at work, I’m thinking, ‘As soon as they get up they need to check their blood sugar — I hope it wasn’t low because they played outside last night,’ or I’ll think, ‘Oh, the snack they have — I hope it wasn’t over their carb limit.’”

Rebecca Dees,

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