A Picture of Type 1 Diabetes in Guerrero, Mexico
In Guerrero, Mexico it is estimated that there are at least 260,000 people living with diabetes. According to data from the State Health Department, it is estimated that only 60,000 (23%) of those people can manage their life condition well.
Guerrero ranks third in poverty conditions among the states of Mexico. Chronic degenerative diseases in the state have a devastating effect on the family economy and the national health system. Diabetes is the leading cause of death in the state.
Beyond Type 1 recently spoke with Aranza, a 17-year old living with Type 1 diabetes in Guerrero about her diagnosis, life with T1D and how Life for a Child has impacted her life for the better. Aranza is one of many young people who participated in the Life for a Child Global Art Competition. Vote for your Favorites HERE.
BT1: Hi Aranza, thanks for speaking with us! Can you talk about your diagnosis?
Aranza: It all happened when I was 12 years old. Suddenly I started feeling sick. I was very thirsty and went to the bathroom often. At first my mom thought it was just colic and we did not pay much attention to it. But later, one Sunday I had a lot of pain, and it was then that they took me to the hospital. I was very pale, and they told my mother that I was very ill.
They first told me I had pancreatitis and immediately took me to intensive care. They told my mom that I would have to stay in the hospital for probably about a month but in the end, I only stayed a week as my recovery was very fast.
It has been difficult keeping my blood glucose levels in the proper range, and I have also run into emotional struggles as well. My father already had diabetes, so my diagnosis actually did not have that much impact because we were used to it. Although we learned things that even I did not know. As a family we have gotten used to everything together.
Tell me about the Mexican Diabetes Association in Guerrero and the Life for a Child program
The Mexican Diabetes Association helps us a lot. I was able to visit a psychologist there and also a nutritionist who helps me understand food.
And Life for a Child is a big help. They help us with the test strips, which is accompanied by diabetes education. In addition, through the association and Life for a Child I have managed to meet more people with diabetes. Before, I did not know anyone with diabetes other than my dad. I have learned new things because I have access to tools to keep me well.
Why did you decide to participate in the Life for a Child art contest?
We were invited to participate in the contest, and I immediately thought it would be good to do so. I honestly did not imagine that so many people would see it. What I wanted to do was to exemplify how tiring it is for me to inject myself every day and I wanted to capture it in my drawing.
What is something that you would like other people in the world to know about what it is like to live with Type 1 diabetes in Mexico, about how a 17-year-old girl with Type 1 diabetes lives in this country?
Well, there are people who do not know about the Mexican Diabetes Association of Life for a Child and do not get test strips or insulin, syringes, and other supplies. All these things are very expensive in Mexico. Having diabetes is not something that I have chosen so paying a lot of money for something that I did not choose and that I do not want seems unfair. We are very privileged to receive help through the association and through this program and without them, our life would be very different.