Part 3 of Our Children with Type 1 Diabetes
Unearthing Root Causes
In parts 1 and 2 of this series, we have been discussing the importance of finding root causes, regardless of whether your goal is to reverse Type 1 Diabetes, to manage the symptoms, or to improve your child’s health as much as you possibly can. Another reason why unearthing root causes is so important is to avoid the development of comorbidities: other conditions that can affect your child besides diabetes.
Unfortunately, just because our children already have Type 1 Diabetes, doesn’t mean that they can’t also have other conditions. In fact, most people with one chronic illness also have other conditions and often have other complications. It is important to outline what some of these conditions may be to further our investigation into what will make our children fully well.
Here is a list of commonly recognized complications with Type 1 Diabetes.
Acute complications of diabetes include:
Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose)
Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (a life-threatening condition characterized by high blood glucose, ketones in the blood and urine, and dehydration)
Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State (a life-threatening condition characterized by very high blood glucose and dehydration)
Long-term complications include:
Neuropathy (nerve damage)
Retinopathy (eye damage)
Atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries)
Nephropathy (kidney disease)
We parents are all too aware of these complications. However, there are many other comorbidities and complications not on our radar.
Other Autoimmune Conditions
Such as Lupus, RA, MS, Celiac Disease, Scleroderma, Hashimoto’s, Hemochromatosis, etc.
PANDAS/PANS/AE (autoimmunity to brain tissue caused by pathogenic infection such as strep)
General Neuro inflammation
Caused by insulin, high BG, infection, chemicals, food, mold, all of them?
Depression, Anxiety, and other mood disorders
Diabulimia (an eating disorder where people with Type 1 Diabetes neglect to take proper insulin dosages in order to lose weight)
Alzheimer’s (Type 3 Diabetes)
Other Metabolic Issues
Infection (both causal and resultant)
Now that we know what we could be dealing with, let’s find out what we actually are dealing with. This is where functional lab testing shines.
So, how do we uncover the root causes? We can make assessments according to our children’s health histories, and this information combined with functional lab testing is an excellent way to make sure we aren’t flying blind.
Proper, comprehensive, functional tests can reveal:
Current Reasons for Symptoms
What is more is that with functional testing and correlating those results with your child’s health history and present environment and current symptoms, we can test both our children’s bodies and our environments, as well.
In all of the years I have spent chasing answers, I have finally come up with my favorite labs and specific tests that can unearth most of the underlying causes we have outlined above. Now, we don’t need to run all of these labs on every child and sometimes we just can’t, AND even when we do, we still need more information or may miss something, but these tools add a great deal of insight and possibility to the questions we need answered.
Functional Bloodwork (both basics and specific to Type 1 Diabetes)
-Inflammatory markers such as c-reactive protein
Vibrant Wellness Testing
-Food Zoomers (for foodreactivity)
-Lyme and Co-Infections
Genetics (Ancestry or 23 and Me run through interpretive programs with professional guidance)
Through a lab such as Cyrex Labs and/or your functional doctor
-Cyrex full autoimmune panel
-Cyrex full pathogen panel
-Cyrex full chemical panel
Through a lab such as The Great Plains Laboratory
The Great Plains laboratory also does heavy metals testing, glyphosate, and mycotoxins.
Testing the environment for mold by a company such as Mycometrix can also be very useful.
Addressing Root Causes
Once we are on the path to digging up root causes, there are a few areas that we can address to lessen the total load and move our children in the right direction: toward better, not worsening, health. The goals of optimizing health, eradicating the causes, and reversing the ill effects of the disease process must all address inflammation and modulate the immune system. For children who have Type 1 Diabetes (and any autoimmune condition), inflammation and the production of auto-antibodies drive their disease state.
Lifestyle Medicine is a powerful way to take matters, and your child’s health, into your own hands. Much of the practices that you can employ by adjusting and improving the way your family lives, moves, and plays and by controlling and improving your environment will dramatically improve not only your child’s sense of well-being, but will instigate deep healing on the DNA, cellular, tissue, and organ levels of our children’s physical health. The seemingly simple and benign practices of eating right and getting enough rest are not in any way simple or benign but what has kept our species alive and our healthiest societies around the world thriving for thousands of years. The body is miraculous and heals and protects itself if not bombarded with environmental assaults and if given the right tools to function as it was made to function.
The equation is simple: take out the bad, and put in the good.
The main areas where lifestyle can dramatically improve the health of our children with Type 1 Diabetes are:
Diet and Nutrition
Light and Dark (Circadian rhythm, Photobiomodulation)
Play, Creativity, Fun, Joy, Purpose
Community and Social Support
This goes for both our children and us parents and caregivers.
Beyond Diet, Rest, Exercise, and Insulin Therapy
Seeing the Diagnosis as the Beginning
No one seems to want to touch Type 1 with a 10 foot pole. Some tissues are easier to repair than others and some conditions aren’t as complicated. Type 1 is complicated – it is both physiological and metabolic and has a deep psychological component that can both contribute to the onset of Type 1 as well as to the perpetuation and inability to heal in any way to any degree. We stop autoimmune attacks to the brain (PANDAS/PANS/AE), to the thyroid (Hashimoto’s), to the myelin sheath of the nerves (MS), but few talk about stopping the attack on the pancreatic beta cells. If we understand the mechanisms behind autoimmunity, then we know that Type 1 is not unlike any of these other conditions, and potentially, it can be stopped.
As we have been discussing throughout this article, it is exceptionally important to identify the root causes of the diabetes, then to figure out what damage has been done and how to stop the damage and repair the tissues. But further to that, our goal can be more than to cure our children so that they can carry on as if nothing happened, but to heal both parent and child in ways that we never knew needed healing, to be awakened to the best of life, and to live better because of it.
END OF PART 3
Carla Atherton, MA, FDN-P, Family Health Coach, is the director of The Healthy Family Formula, host of The Children’s and Teen Health Summit, author of the forthcoming book Family Health Revolution (release date: March 15th. 2019), editor, book junkie, research geek, insatiably curious mother of three grown (son age 20), almost grown (daughter age 18), and growing (daughter age 15) children, one of whom has Type 1 Diabetes. Carla lives on an acreage in rural Saskatchewan, Canada, where she works from a home office with families from all over the world on the reversal of conditions such as, Autoimmunity: Type 1 Diabetes, PANDAS/PANS/Autoimmune Encephalitis, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity; Asthma, Allergies, Eczema, and Reactivity; ADHD, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Learning Disabilities; Depression, Anxiety, Mental Health Disorders, Eating Disorders, ODD; Other Neurological Conditions; Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and Metabolic Disorders; Untangling Mystery Symptoms, Complex Cases, and Co-Morbidities (having more than one condition); Mold Illness; Multiple Chemical Sensitivity; Lyme; Other Infection; and Addictions. Carla is on a revolutionary mission to empower families to transcend our new normal of ill health and chronic disease.
For more information or help with your own family’s health journey, read more on this website, contact Carla, schedule a complimentary Meet and Greet with Carla, or learn about her Practitioner Training Programs for professionals and educational online Weekend Workshops for parents.