Even as a child, Osmín had to learn from daily checkups and insulin injections. Despite this, now at 19, he says the diagnosis has not prevented him from reaching his goals; He dreams of graduating as an automotive engineering technician.
Osmín Orlando Rivas was only three years old when he first enjoyed a family walk to some pools. A fun trip that also revealed a condition with which he had to learn to live: Diabetes type 1.
In El Salvador about 2 million diabetic patients have been registered, according to data taken from the last survey carried out in the country in 2006, since, to date, the country does not have a census on the disease.
Osmín, 19, is part of the small group of diabetic patients under 21 years of age. He is an only child, lives with his mother and grandmother, neither of them has diabetes at his age, the appearance of diabetes in the young man could be related to the strong emotion he lived in the aforementioned walk, but it is also not ruled out that his ancestors have had glucose problems.
The young man checks his sugar levels three times a day. Photo EDH / Marcela Moreno
Anyway, the diagnosis fell like a bucket of cold water for María Ordoñez, mother of Osmín, who saw it as a “tremendous blow in her life, felt that the world came over her”, but at the same time sought how to find out about the disease to give your child proper treatment.
The Head of the Endorinology Service of Rosales National Hospital, Dr. Roberto Cerritos, explains that there are cases in which a child can be born diabetic but can disappear in a few months.
However, it clarifies that “There are some children who stay with diabetes for a lifetime, it is difficult to deduce at what age it appears because it can be at any time.”
Given this, the doctor emphasizes the importance of doctors knowing about the disease to give a more accurate diagnosis, adequate treatment, and a prognosis for the patient to be aware of what will happen in his life.
Diabetes is a silent disease., and in young patients is no exception, however, Dr. Cerritos explains that some symptoms that could help detect it in a child are vomiting, irritability, unconsciousness and dizziness. In some cases strong emotions can trigger diabetes.
Also, the internist of the Rosales hospital, Dr. Manuel Zometa, details that there are three obvious factors that affect the appearance of any type of diabetes: sedentary lifestyle, obesity and family history.
According to specialists, genetics is “Capricious” and there are cases in which the child can develop diabetes before the father.
Osmín will graduate as an automotive engineering technician / Photo courtesy
In the case of Osmín, the experience he had on the family trip at such a young age could have triggered diabetes.
The night after that walk, Osmín presented an irregularity, he urinated in bed several times, something that had never happened, so his mother decided to consult thinking that it would be something temporary. But when doing a urine test, sugar levels were 700, an unexpected result and very high for his age.
Osmín and his mother began attending the workshops taught at the Salvadoran Diabetes Association (Asadi). That facilitated the young man to learn to live with the diagnosis from a very young age, which is not treated as a disease but as a “lifestyle”, and with which he could lead a childhood with some restrictions.
“In Asadi they teach us that it is not a disease, but a lifestyle, because it is something that one adapts to and can live as long as one wishes and allows (with the respective care),” says the young man.
Patients under 21 years old they are type 1 diabetics, whose pancreas does not produce insulin, the hormone that is responsible for helping glucose provide energy to the body, without insulin there is excess blood sugar and this can cause heart problems, vision, Nerves and teeth, among others.
The insulin used by Osmin lasts about a week and the cost is $ 20.00. Photo EDH / Marcela Moreno
The endocrinologist explains that a few years ago type 1 diabetes was diagnosed in patients younger than 15 years and type 2 above that age, but currently the type of Diabetes is indifferent to age.
From the age of three, Osmín began the journey of learning to live with diabetes, the young man remembers that he ran to his bed to hide his little hands and prevent his mother from pricking his fingers to make the respective routine check-up.
The young man says that his mother came to feel guilty, thinking that he hurt his son, however, at five years old the child had to learn to do it just because his mother began to have arthritis problems in his hands and every time he was more difficult to do glucose tests.
Although Osmín reflects attitude and positivism before his diagnosis, he says that after learning to check, he came to question why he should do it and feel desperate for both routine check-up, and that it was until he was 15 years old that he managed to assimilate his condition.
He confesses that one of the parts that remains difficult for him is to learn to eat properly (in portions and quantities) and to say “no” to foods high in sugar.
In your pocket you never miss your glucometer with all the implements, insulin and snacks. Photo EDH / Marcela Moreno
“My life has been easy, the problem is when it comes to choosing food and drinks on outings with friends, but you can live with diabetes taking into account four things: education, medication, food and exercise,” says the young man.
Osmin must be checked three times and insulin is injected five times a day. In your pocket you never miss your glucometer with all the implements, insulin and snacks to keep your glucose at normal levels.
Dr. Cerritos explains that without the need to have a diagnosis, the ideal habits that a person should have are precisely those indicated to a patient when diabetes has already been detected.
Osmín dreams of graduating in this 2020 as automotive engineering technician and help her mother, since she is aware that her illness, diabetes, is of high economic cost. Despite the difficulties, Osmín maintains the optimism and smile that characterize him.