Today I came across a study which found that children with Type I Diabetes who watched four hours or more of TV per day had higher glucose levels than children that watched less TV. This study caught my attention because I saw writing about it as an opportunity to distinguish the differences between Type I and Type II Diabetes for anyone who is confused about them. This information raises the concept that behavioral patterns and blood sugar levels are related to one another in the body, even when the medical community doesn’t understand the reasons why. Hyperglycemia, or Diabetes, has become a huge problem in the United States over the past 25 years. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 25.8 million Americans are affected by Diabetes. The most prevalent form is Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) or Type II. In this form cells are not responding to the insulin that is being released from the pancreas and the body is becoming insulin resistant. This lack of response causes the amount of glucose constantly circulating in the blood to continually be higher than normal.
Another form is Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM) or Type I. In Type I the pancreas is no longer able to produce sufficient amounts of insulin and, as a result, people suffering from this form must take insulin injections to regulate the glucose in the blood.
Type I Diabetes was formerly called juvenile diabetes because it affected mostly children who had to learn to live their entire life taking insulin. If Type I Diabetics do not take insulin they will die because their bodies are not able to regulate their glucose levels no matter how pristine their healthy behaviors.
For young people living with Type I Diabetes, it is critical to manage their blood sugar levels as children and continue into adulthood to prevent the devastating complications like blindness, heart and kidney damage, nerve impairment, or amputations as they age.
This study doesn’t give specific reasons why children that watched four or more hours of TV caused higher blood sugar, but it is a good start towards more research so we can understand what behaviors are associated with TV watching, like snacking while watching or lack of exercise.
This and other medical studies are starting to question behavioral patterns to see how they impact chronic diseases. I hope to see more specific research on this topic but for now the recommendations are important. We have to get our kids off the couch and moving, especially our kids with Type I Diabetes.
Dr. Daemon Jones
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Fast Facts on Diabetes. The. "National Diabetes Statistics, 2011 - National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse." National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2011. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/DM/PUBS/statistics/#fast.
Norton, Amy. " Kids who watch more TV have poorer diabetes control| Reuters." Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2011. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/05/us-kids-who-watch-more-tv-idUS....
"Type 1 diabetes - MayoClinic.com." Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2011. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/type-1-diabetes/DS00329.