Legendary actress, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away at the age of 80 on January 25th. When she was thirty-three and just about to start filming her show "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," Moore was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after suffering a miscarriage. In numerous articles, Moore has stated that it was a lifestyle adjustment since she had considered herself an active and healthy young woman, and her doctors were perplexed which caused the onset of either the miscarriage or diabetes, and she stated in an Medline Plus Magazine interview that "to this day, they still do not know." Since her diagnosis, Moore became an advocate for Type 1, often times lobbying Congress to assist in increasing the research fund at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which she was an International Chairmen for over two decades.
While Type 1 is usually discovered during adolescence (often being called juvenile diabetes), it can develop in adults from a virus, genetics, and certain geographical locations. It is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, because your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or any at all. Our bodies need this hormone as it is responsible for glucose entering our cells and producing energy, as well as maintaining the level of sugar in the bloodstream. When there is little to no insulin maintaining the sugar, it builds up, causing potentially life-threatening concerns.
Symptoms tend to come on fast, and can consist of:
- Extreme thirst
- Unintended weight loss
- Mood changes
- Blurred vision
- Extreme hunger
- Fatigue and weakness
The Mayo Clinic states that the primary goal in treating Type 1, is to keep the blood sugar levels in the normal range to avoid any complications. Treatments include taking insulin, maintaining a regular exercise regime, eating a healthy diet of whole and unprocessed foods (which can contain hidden sugars), monitoring the amount of carbohydrates consumed, as well as checking sugars consistently.
Initial care can become overwhelming, and the Mayo says to take it one day at a time. Work with your doctors closely to find the right treatment plan and type of insulin for you, educate yourself on the disease, and remember you are not alone.
Visit the Mayo Clinic's website to learn more.
Also see Health's article on Mary Tyler Moore and living with Type 1 diabetes.