Girl Suddenly Died From Undiagnosed Type 1 Diabetes
At just five years old, Kycie Jai Terry died on July 11th from undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. Her death illustrates just how risky undiagnosed type 1 diabetes is, and the importance of knowing its signs and symptoms.
This young girl’s story is quite heartbreaking. Kycie complained of a headache to her parents on the 25th of January, a Sunday. After developing a sore throat, stomach pain, and sleeping for the whole day on Monday, Kycie and her mother paid their family doctor a visit on Wednesday. The doctor gave Kycie antibiotics for her strep throat, after intake of which she failed to show any improvement. By Friday, Kycie had to be taken to the ER. She had a blood sugar level of 63.8 mmol/l and even suffered a seizure on the way.
Upon arrival at the hospital, Kycie entered a coma seeing as she was experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis. She, however, regained consciousness 24 hours later. Unfortunately and surprisingly, her doctor’s original diagnosis of strep throat was inaccurate. Kycie stayed in the hospital undergoing treatment until the 15th of May, a total of 111 days, before returning to her home in St. George.
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Kycie was able to wiggle her toes, roll over, and even ride her bike with help despite the assertion that she would have zero quality of life. On the 27th of June, Kycie was admitted back at the Primary Children’s Hospital after her condition worsened. Although she was initially on a ventilator, Kycie was again able to breathe independently on the 4th of July. She was welcomed back home again upon being discharged on the 9th of July. On the 11th of July, Kycie sadly passed on in the arms of her father. Her funeral was held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Boulder Ridge Stake Centre, St. George, on Thursday 16 July.
Josh and Jamie documented their daughter’s struggle on Facebook. Kycie’s courage and story have raised the awareness of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes, inspiring the entire diabetes community. During the first week of her illness, the assumption and attribution of her symptoms to a cold or the flu would have been easy. However, type 1 diabetes has various warning signs.
The major signs and symptoms exhibited in undiagnosed diabetes cases can come on quickly and could include:
• Extreme hunger
• Increased thirst
• Blurred vision
• Frequent urination
• Unintended and unexplainable loss of weight
• Fatigue and weakness
• Irritability and other changes in the mood
• Bedwetting in the children who did not previously wet their bed
• A yeast infection in females
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) might occur before the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, which makes it important to note the symptoms associated with DKA. The stomach pain experienced by Kycie is among the most common symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis.
Cases of death due to undiagnosed type 1 diabetes are steadily rising. After attributing her symptoms to motherhood, Nicky Rigby passed on due to undiagnosed type 1 diabetes in 2012. Nicky thought all mothers got tired the same way she did, despite her loss of weight and exhaustion that lasted the entire five months after her delivery.
There is currently no known way of preventing type 1 diabetes completely. Researchers are however working on its prevention and that of its destruction of the islet cells, particularly in newly diagnosed patients. As such, it is imperative that you see your GP immediately any of these symptoms develop, even though they may seem relatively innocuous at first. Diabetic ketoacidosis usually develops over a period of 24 hours and can often lead to a diabetic coma.
The deaths of both Kycie and Nicky are heartbreaking examples of how quickly the symptoms associated with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes can develop and why it is so dangerous. As such, the importance of seeking medical attention immediate you notice any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above cannot be stressed further. The key here is staying vigilant and taking immediate action. We hope Kycie’s story serves as an inspiration to people from all walks of life.