Diabetes is a chronic disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood. We met a 7th grader in Aberdeen who recently learned he's a Type 1 Diabetic, but thanks to Registered Dietitians at Avera St. Luke's he's learning to live with it correctly.
Adam Zimmerman is only 12 years old, but recently learned he has a very grown up disease.
Adam says, "I was going to the bathroom a lot, I was really thirsty, my mom said I was pale and I just didn't feel normal."
Adam's doctor confirmed he has Type 1 Diabetes. His pancreas no longer produces enough insulin to properly control his blood sugar.
Adam says, "I was kind of scared when the doctor told me. I didn't think it would make me different, but I would have to change how I was living."
And that's when Sara Weigel came in to Adam's life. Sara is a Registered Dietitian with Avera St. Luke's and is teaching the 7th grader a new lesson in food, carbs and how it all affects blood sugar.
Weigel says, "Number one we always teach healthy eating first and foremost, but definitely matching the insulin to the carbohydrates. We don't want any kid to feel they can't eat what other kids are eating, but they need to make sure they are eating healthy. They have to match carbohydrates to insulin."
Adam gives himself 4 insulin shots a day in the stomach, one after each meal and one at night. The trick is figuring out how many carbs he ate during the meal and how many units of insulin he needs to offset them.
Adam says, "It's the same as before, but more math is involved. I think my math grades will improve."
Weigel says it's important, especially for kids, to understand how to keep their diabetes under control. If they don't for a lifetime they could be plagued with all kinds of diabetes related complications like blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and nerve damage. Adam gets that and he thanks Sara and Avera St. Luke's for helping show him the right way to live with this disorder.
Adam checks his blood sugar levels 8 times a day, always before he eats and 2 hours afterwards. He, his mom and Sara Weigel all say he is adjusting very well though to all the changes.