Photo: Actress Mary Tyler Moore. Source: Yahoo.
While some people are having a hard time fighting chronic diseases, like diabetes, some are quite successful in keeping the symptoms at bay to have a quality life. One celebrity who had type 1 diabetes is American actress, Mary Tyler Moore.
She served as an inspiration to many type 1 diabetes patients before she died on January 25th, 2017, at the ripe age of 80. A year after her death, people still remember her tireless commitment to helping millions of diabetes patients.
In this article, we plan to take a trip down memory lane and learn just how this incredible woman won her battle against type 1 diabetes while helping others to do the same.
Mary Tyler Moore’s Diabetes Diagnosis
It was the year 1969 when Mary Tyler Moore was diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes at the age of 33. Just like other patients with the said disease, the actress didn’t expect to be affected by something as serious as diabetes. But, being the amazing woman that she is, Moore didn’t waste time to accept the seriousness of her condition.
She became cautious and took the extra steps necessary in managing her condition. Moreover, she was the first high-profile celebrity at that time who acknowledged and voiced out her diagnosis as one of the first advocates for type 1 diabetes.
Her statement paved the way for other type 1 diabetes patients to come out and acknowledge their condition as well. Moore became the voice of the type 1 diabetes community, and she encouraged others to accept their condition as well.
Just like what she did, she helped other type 1 diabetes patients acknowledge the fact that diabetes will be part of their everyday undertakings no matter what they do, so they should do everything they can to face the disease with courage rather than fear.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic illness that is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes. This type of diabetes is a condition where the body does not have enough insulin production, which results in having high blood sugar levels in the body. Insulin is responsible for the use of glucose and transforms them into energy. In other words, insulin helps regulate one’s sugar level by keeping them from getting too low or too high.
Type 1 diabetes patients have complications with their insulin production. Because their pancreas stops producing insulin, type 1 diabetes patients need insulin treatment to survive, which is usually through injections. This condition has no cure, so it is important for patients to watch out for the symptoms, which could be life-threatening when left untreated.
6 Tell-Tale Signs of Type 1 Diabetes
Because of Moore’s effort, more people became aware of type 1 diabetes. Nowadays, people are interested to know the symptoms of the disease and seek treatment. Below are the 6 tell-tale signs that a person has type 1 diabetes:
It is human nature to feel thirsty, but in the case of individuals with type 1 diabetes, there is a feeling of increased thirst or Polydipsia. Oftentimes, this is accompanied by dryness of mouth. Excessive thirst can be caused by high blood sugar level in the body, which is a malfunction caused by the lack of insulin. Because of the high blood sugar level, glucose becomes concentrated. Now, when this happens, your kidney can no longer pull out the glucose from water, which causes an imbalance in your body. The water then can no longer be absorbed back into the bloodstream. This is why a person with diabetes always feel thirsty.
Because of the imbalance of water in the body, the water that is not absorbed back into the bloodstream is pushed out of the body. Thus, aside from always feeling thirsty, a person with type 1 diabetes also suffer from frequent urination. As mentioned, because of the absence of insulin, sugar is stocked up in the blood. Well, not only that, the kidney can no longer handle the high level of sugar; thus, they spill into the urine. The sugar that spills with urine also pulls more water, making the person want to pee more.
Now, one might think that this is not a serious symptoms and one can easily go to the toilet to relieve the discomfort. If you also think the same way, then you couldn’t be more wrong. Excessive urination can cause damage to the kidney and is a primary cause of dehydration. If a person is dehydrated, he or she usually has dry mouth and feel thirsty all the time. It is because you are peeing more, your body detects that you need more water, thus the feeling of thirst, to replenish the water lost when urinating.
Some may say, “I can just drink more water then so that my body will not be dehydrated.” However, the problem is that the more you drink water, the more you want to pee. The complication is rooted back to the high blood sugar level that already damaged the kidney.
Fatigue and Tiredness
The high or low blood sugar levels can directly cause fatigue to the patient. This high level of sugar causes the cell circulation to slow down. When this happens, the cells in the body will no longer receive enough oxygen, as well as enough nutrients. We all know what happens when the body doesn’t receive enough oxygen and nutrients— feeling tired and weak.
The low level of sugar, on the other hand, causes fatigue because when the sugar is low, there is not enough glucose that fuels the body to work well. This means the body doesn’t have enough energy to do the tasks for the day.
While this sounds like a positive attribute, having a sweet or fruity smell can actually be a symptom that a person has type 1 diabetes. The next time you smell something fruity on your breath, you might need to have yourself be checked for diabetes. The phenomenon that causes the sweet smell is called diabetic ketoacidosis, and this can be life-threatening when left untreated. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) happens when the ketones in your body rise to unsafe levels.
So, what causes ketone levels to rise? Ketones are formed when there is not enough glucose to burn for energy. Thus, the body uses fats for fuel instead. The process of burning fats to use as energy results in having ketones as the by-products. Acetone, one of the ketones, is responsible for the fruity smell of the breath.
Unexpected Weight Loss
You might have heard of the famous ketogenic diet. This diet uses fats to provide energy for the body. However, one must know that this diet is best monitored by a health expert. If not managed well, this can cause your blood to become acidic. In the long run, this leads to unexpected weight loss even if you’re eating the right amount of food.
This is a surprising symptom of diabetes. While this could be just a temporary symptom, this happens rapidly and may cause serious eye problems. Blurred vision is linked to diabetes because the high level of sugar causes the eyes’ lenses to swell.
Mary Tyler Moore, in particular, suffered this symptom. She suffered from blurred vision and almost lost her sight due to proliferative diabetic retinopathy, an enlarged vessel growing on the surface of the eye’s retina.
Because of Moore’s battle with Type 1 diabetes and the courage she showed despite almost losing her eyesight due to this incurable disease, many people have now become cautious with their health. Type 1 diabetes, just like any other chronic illness, can bring a lot of changes to the patient’s life. But the real cure begins with acceptance.
Just like Moore, it's time to acknowledge the disease and not hesitate to lend your support to other patients.