Extra Challenges

T1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, where the body mistakenly attacks healthy cells (in this case insulin producing cells in the pancreas). The cause of autoimmune diseases, including T1D, isn’t known, it’s thought to possibly be a combination of genetics and environment and triggered by a virus/illness. T1 diabetes is found in all cultures, all ethnicities, all countries and is one of the oldest documented diseases.

Unfortunately it is very common for T1 diabetics to have other autoimmune diseases. T1 diabetics are at a higher risk of developing celiac disease, thyroid problems, vitiligo, psoriasis and most other autoimmune diseases. 20% of T1D’s have a second autoimmune disease and the rate is even higher among Caucasian women. For many it’s not if they will develop another condition but when. And having two additional autoimmune diseases isn’t unusual.

I have asthma, I actually have had asthma since childhood. Most of the time I have no symptoms of my asthma but illness and wildfire smoke are triggers for me. Over the last few weeks I had both causing a huge flair up of my asthma.

Asthma is extra hard to treat in someone with T1 diabetes because the best treatments against asthma (breathing treatments and steroids) are horrible on blood sugar. And asthma isn’t the only autoimmune disease that uses steroids, steroids are often the best treatment to reduce an acute autoimmune attack. But they cause very high blood sugar which can be hard to control. But breathing is kind of important so whatever is necessary to keep me breathing is most important and dealing with blood sugar fallout is secondary.

It can be frustrating to see BG steadily rise and feel helpless to do much but trying to keep it from going too high. Yes, taking more insulin is the best way to combat the elevated BG but taking double, triple or more the typical amount of insulin has to be done carefully. I was up in the 300s at times and it feels horrible! But thankfully once I finished the round of steroids, my BGs have come back down to normal.

T1 diabetes will always have its challenges but I choose to use these times to be thankful for when things are easier. I don’t take for granted the blessing it is to have each breath. Yes T1D makes life a little harder but it also shows me what I do have to be thankful for.

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