Chances are most Salt Lake Community College students know someone living with diabetes and, most likely, they’ve had a few classes with them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three Americans will likely have diabetes by 2050 and more than 235,000 Utahns currently live with the disease. SLCC student Kaysen Newman is one of them.
Newman says, “I think it’s important for everyone to know what diabetes is, especially at the rate it’s growing…Just know the symptoms and how it works. Know that this disease won’t hold you back. You can be a victim but people have much worse things to deal with.”
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are really two very different diseases. Type 1 generally affects the younger population. It is even sometimes referred to as “juvenile diabetes.” It also requires a lot of time, energy, and motivation (and money) to manage.
When someone’s blood glucose numbers are high or low, it can cause several problems: low blood sugar causes dizziness, confusion, anxiety, headaches, weakness, anger, seizures and more. High blood sugar symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst and general sick feeling.
Even taking a test can be a trial for a Type 1 diabetic.
Newman, who has been living with Type 1 diabetes for 12 years, says, “The hardest part is the learning curve I have to deal with if my glucose levels aren’t right on. If not corrected quickly, a higher glucose makes me feel foggy and I don’t feel like I am taking the test to my full capacity.”
Luckily, there are laws to help. Diabetics, by law, are allowed to eat, test their blood sugar and inject insulin in the classroom. Additionally, there are things Newman and other SLCC students with diabetes can do if they have irregular blood glucose levels.
The Disability Resource Center, located in the Student Center at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus, can offer support and food for any student with low blood sugar. Students can also visit the Food Pantry for a sugary snack or drink to increase their blood glucose.
Students should never face reluctance from a professor or school employee to not allow them to manage their disease, but if they do, they can contact the ADA’s Safe at School program. The program makes sure all diabetic students (from kindergarten until college graduation) are being allowed to take care of themselves in the classroom.