Model Lila Moss highlighted her glucose monitor in a recent Instagram post, sharing a sneak peek from her new Fendi-Versace campaign. The reaction to the post was overwhelmingly positive, with comments praising the 19-year-old daughter of model Kate Moss for being open about her medical condition.
Lila Moss is one of the faces of the new collaboration dubbed the Fendace Collection which brings together two Italian designer juggernauts for a new fashion line.
This is not the first time Moss has shared with the world that she has type 1 diabetes. Back in 2021, the model showed her insulin pump while walking on the runway during Milan Fashion Week. She has been candid in talking about having diabetes and embraces it as part of her identity, not something she has to hide.
Moss wore a sheer gown to the Met Gala in 2022, showing off both her glucose monitor and insulin pump. Many are praising her for representing the diabetic community and normalizing the condition.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is a condition that affects the blood sugar in a person. In people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes little to no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that allows sugar to be absorbed into cells.
Without insulin, sugar is not able to enter cells and builds up in the bloodstream. Cells need sugar for energy and in diabetes, they can be starved for that energy. High blood sugar in the bloodstream has negative effects on many systems in the body, leading to many symptoms and can be life-threatening if not properly controlled.
How is Type 1 Different From Type 2?
Only 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1. The majority of people have type 2 diabetes.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin, however, cells fail to use insulin properly. Sometimes insulin resistance can develop when cells don’t respond to insulin.
For individuals with type 2 diabetes, managing the condition can sometimes be achieved with diet and exercise alone. Though a healthy diet and exercise are helpful in type 1 diabetes, insulin is needed to manage the condition.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Sometimes, diagnosing diabetes can be a challenge. It can take months or years before the symptoms of diabetes are recognized.
Symptoms of diabetes can include:
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Extreme thirst
- Weight loss without trying
- Extreme hunger
- Blurry vision
- Numb or tingling hands or feet
- Feeling very tired
- Dry skin
- Sores that heal slowly
In type 1 diabetes, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pains are also possible. Symptoms usually develop as a child, teen, or young adult but can also occur later in life.
In type 2 diabetes, symptoms usually develop later in life, though it is now being seen in younger patients.
What Causes Diabetes?
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes arise in different ways.
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. It is believed that the body’s own immune system can attack the pancreas, destroying it. Other causes have been linked to genetics, viruses, and environmental factors.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood or teenage years, though it can occur at any age.
Scientists link developing type 2 diabetes to several risk factors including:
- Weight- being overweight is the primary risk factor
- Fat distribution- those with fat stored mostly in the abdomen are at a higher risk
- Family history- risks increase with a relative with the disease
- Age- risks increase as you age, especially after 45
- Inactivity- being active reduces your risk level
There are several other factors that contribute to whether or not a person will develop type 2 diabetes including race and ethnicity.
Sometimes a woman can develop gestational diabetes during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Changes in hormones and weight gain can cause insulin resistance. Gestational diabetes is not permanent and resolves after birth.
Complications of Diabetes
If blood sugar is not properly controlled, it can become too high or too low. Both of these conditions are dangerous.
When sugar is too high for extended periods, multiple organ systems can be negatively impacted.
Kidneys can become affected leading to chronic kidney disease. This can lead to kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant.
Eye damage can result in cataracts and loss of vision.
A variety of cardiovascular issues are linked to diabetes such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia, occurs when blood sugar is too low. This can result in dizziness, sweating, irregular heartbeat, and other symptoms.
If not addressed, prolonged low blood sugar can lead to seizures and loss of consciousness.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a state that can develop where the body is breaking down fat for energy and ketones are being produced at a rate that is dangerous.
It is important for those diagnosed with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar regularly.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, there are treatments available. It is advised that those affected by diabetes maintain a healthy lifestyle including eating right and maintaining a healthy weight.
There are several medications available for individuals diagnosed with diabetes. A common treatment is injectable insulin.
Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone that lowers blood sugar by increasing sugar uptake into cells.
Discuss with your medical provider to decide which medication is most appropriate.
The Future of Diabetes Management
The good news is technology is evolving to help those living with diabetes manage their condition.
There are new devices like smart insulin pens and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices that make it easier for a patient to monitor their glucose levels.
Smart Insulin Pens
Smart insulin pens are reusable injector pens that connect with an app on a smartphone. Using a Bluetooth connection, the smart pen reports data in real-time. They are designed to calculate and track insulin doses, while also delivering reports to the user.
An added bonus is that you will receive reminders and alerts so you can manage your glucose effectively.
Smart insulin pens are equipped with cartridges, replacing vials and syringes. They are growing steadily in popularity due to their convenience and affordability.
Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM)
Another breakthrough in diabetes management devices was the development of continuous glucose monitors (CGM).
Traditionally, a person would prick their finger and test their blood glucose levels with a meter. Meters have become more sophisticated in recent years with the ability to store multiple readings and communicate with mobile devices.
CGM monitors, like the FreeStyle Libre that Lila Moss wears, use a sensor that is attached to the person’s arm and takes readings once every minute.
These types of monitors are worn continuously for up to 14 days at a time and allow the wearer to skip the finger pricks.
With continuous monitoring, a person will be notified immediately if their blood sugar is too high or too low. Also, it is believed that this type of monitor leads to a person spending more time in the correct range of blood sugar compared to other methods of monitoring.
Since this technology is so new, more research is being done to fully understand all of the benefits.
An Area of Focus for the Country
With an estimated 37 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes and an additional 96 million being prediabetic, diabetes is a challenge of colossal proportions for the country.
Individuals with diabetes spend up to twice as much on medical care as those without diabetes. Nationally, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death and accounts for $327 billion in medical costs and lost work wages.
Since so many people are affected by diabetes, research continues to search for alternative treatments and a cure for the condition.
For now, Lila Moss will bring awareness to the condition and make glucose monitoring glamorous as only she can.
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). What is Type 1 Diabetes? March 2022. Available at CDC.gov.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestion and Kidney Diseases. Type 2 Diabetes. May 2017. Available at NIDDK.NIH.gov.
- Mayo Clinic. Type 1 Diabetes. March 2021. Available at MayoClinic.org.
- Mayo Clinic. Type 2 Diabetes. January 2021. Available at MayoClinic.org.
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Diabetes Symptoms. April 2021. Available at CDC.gov.
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Gestational Diabetes. August 2021. Available at CDC.gov.
- Mayo Clinic. Hypoglycemia. May 2022. Available at MayoClinic.org.
- American Diabetes Association. Devices and Technology. Accessed May 2022. Available at Diabetes.org.
- American Diabetes Association. What is a Smart Insulin Pen? Accessed May 2022. Available at Diabetes.org.
- American Diabetes Association. CGM and Time in Range. Accessed May 2022. Available at Diabetes.org.
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).The Facts, Stats, and Impacts of Diabetes. January 2022. Available at CDC.gov.
- National Library of Medicine (NIH). Prevalence and incidence of type 1 diabetes in the world: a systemic review and meta-analysis. March 30, 2020. Available at NCBI.nlm.nih.gov.
- American Diabetes Association. The Cost of Diabetes. 2022. Available at Diabetes.org.