Like many 2-year-old girls, Layla Green has a dog. But Layla’s dog, Jubilee, can perform tricks other than sit and roll over. Jubilee is trained to detect if Layla’s blood sugar levels are too high or too low and can alert her parents to any urgent situations. This is especially important since Layla is still too young to communicate how she feels.
“Jubilee is capable of alerting to highs and lows, as well as fetching her glucose meter,” said Layla’s mother, Amie Green. “With further training, she will also be able to get Layla’s juice, snacks, and call 911 through a special device, potentially saving her life. Jubilee joined our family on June 5, 2013 and she has had over 300 alerts.”
Green will be the keynote speaker this Thursday, Nov. 14, at a Warren County Lions Club program aimed at raising diabetes awareness. The free program, called Get the Word Out, will be held at 6 p.m. at Caney Fork Electric auditorium on 920 New Smithville Highway.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults in the United States – 8.3 percent of the population – have diabetes.
Ashley Swoape is a high school-aged student who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 4. She will be on hand Thursday night to talk about her team, Ashley’s Army, which raises funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
As for Layla, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 17 months. Layla and Jubilee will be in attendance.
Green said, “If you were to see Layla out, you would think she was a perfectly healthy kid. However, she has an invisible disability known as type 1, or juvenile diabetes, and will be insulin dependent for the rest of her life. When she was diagnosed, her sugar was over 600 and she was close to losing her life.”
Layla’s parents, Adam and Amie Green, follow an almost military-precision schedule in order to keep their daughter healthy. They must count carbohydrates for all of Layla’s meals and calculate the amount of insulin she must receive every time she eats anything.
Layla also wears an insulin pump 24 hours a day. She must receive insulin or she will die. She is in danger of going into a coma if her sugar rises too high. If her sugar drops too low, she could pass out, go into a coma, seizure or die.
“Juvenile diabetes is hard to control and every day is a challenge,” said Amie. “Layla must endure blood sugar checks 10-12 times daily through finger pricks, including throughout the night. Since diagnosis, she has endured over 4,500 sugar checks and over 800 shots of insulin.”
There are two types of diabetes. In type 1, also known as juvenile diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy for daily life. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults.
In type 2 diabetes, the most common form, the body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, the pancreas makes extra insulin to compensate. But, over time the pancreas is not able to keep up and cannot make enough insulin to keep blood glucose at normal levels.
Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing complications. The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild they go unnoticed.
Common symptoms of diabetes:
• Urinating often
• Feeling very thirsty
• Feeling very hungry even though you are eating
• Extreme fatigue
• Blurry vision
• Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
• Weight loss, even though you are eating more (type 1)
• Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands and feet (type 2)