National Diabetes Month: keeping track of type one

Newburg, ND - According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.

The CDC explains diabetes as the condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy.

It goes on to say that diabetes diminishes the use of the pancreas - it doesn't make enough insulin to help sugar work through the cells of our bodies, causing it to build up in the blood.

For one girl in Newburg, who is among the one and a half million people diagnosed this year, her family is putting in a group effort to keep her sugar and insulin levels where they should be.

Kenidy Ellsworth is an average eight-year-old girl.

The only exception to that ... 
"I have to check before I eat and stuff," Kenidy said.
... is the type one diabetes that can throw off her body's sugar and insulin levels.

"I get a headache or something, or my tummy starts to hurt," she explained.

To monitor her food and sugar intake, she tests her blood, "Mostly three times a day for meals and then if I get hungry I just eat string cheese or something."

And her mom uses apps like MyFitnessPal and MySugr, which track everything from calories to insulin.

Diabetes runs in her mom's family, so that keeps her very conscious of Kenidy's needs.

"We have a whole new concept of daily routine. It's never the same from day to day. We check right away in the morning when she gets up, that part stays the same," RaeAnn Ellsworth said.

The family of five eats three low-carb meals a day, so Kenidy isn't the only one on a semi-strict diet.

"They [doctors] tell us the lower carb is the way to go so that's what we try and stick with," RaeAnn said.

"Granted, she's eight. So if she wants a cupcake, she can have a cupcake. We're not going to tell her no, so she gets those treats."

"I just have to take insulin," said Kenidy.

"So we cover it," her mom said.

And to Kenidy.. she's no different than any other kid, "because they're just still the same, I just have stuff I have to do and stuff."

Kenidy's mom said the biggest change since her diagnosis in March is just keeping an open communication between Kenidy and anyone involved in taking care of her.

Food intake isn't the only thing that can throw off her sugar.

A bad day can come from things like stress, a cold, or even seasonal allergies.

So if everyone's on the same page, they can better determine what the cause is to treat and hopefully keep a bad day from happening.

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