Type 1 diabetes a battle for the whole family - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

WEDNESDAY, November 3, 2010

Type 1 diabetes a battle for the whole family

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes isn't something that's necessarily noticeable to outsiders. Three million Americans have it, and if not handled properly, it can lead to profound complications, even death. For families of small children with Type 1, handling things is an around-the-clock battle.

Five-year-old Evan Wamstad knows how to play, wrestling with dad, a little backyard football, and he's a big hitter when it comes to baseball. But while running around would wear any healthy child out, with Evan it's different. He has Type 1 diabetes.

"When he's low I've seen him walk into walls, I've seen him fall," mother Lori Wamstad said.

For Lori, those are just the immediate visible effects. If Evan's blood sugar is too high or too low, he could suffer permanent organ damage or even fall into a coma and die.

"Yes, it's 24-7. I'm constantly worried about how he feels while I sleep at night. I don't sleep as well as I'd like. I test him at night," Lori said.

Evan has become an expert at testing his blood sugar, something that's done up to 12 times a day. His blood sugar number this afternoon in 281 -- that's a little too high. Mom talks to Evan about a snack, factors those incoming carbohydrates in and adjusts his insulin pump, which regulates his blood sugar.

"He wears it all the time," Lori said.

Then it's time to eat, and that's an ordeal on its own. Every carbohydrate that Evan takes in must be accounted for. Varying from routine can cause problems. If Evan's blood sugar is too low, he crashes, too high and he'll get a headache and become nauseous. It all means that as a family, the Wamstads have to keep their guard up.

"Y'know, the diabetes never rests. It forces you to be that much more structured where you can't be as carefree as you'd like sometimes," father Shawn Wamstad said.

While the Wamstads are up to the challenge, they would like to see some change and hope for a cure for their little slugger.

Join Evan, News 8's Carlo Cecchetto and thousands of others for the next JDRF Walk in Balboa Park on Saturday, Nov. 13.

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