In general, there are 2 types of diabetes – diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2. Adults are prone to type 2, children are prone to type 1. What to do if your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? Here are some useful parenting tips for you to get prepared.
Diabetes type 1
It is very important to know that children have a different form of diabetes than adults and that the treatment immediately requires regular insulin injections – with type 2, insulin injections are sometimes not required. Also note that this disease is not contagious as sometimes people mistakenly think.
Defense system in diabetic type 1 patients mistakenly attacks precisely those cells of the pancreas that secrete the hormone called insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels. Diabetes type 1 is also referred to as an autoimmune disorder. Once these cells are destroyed a patient is in mortal danger as not enough insulin is secreted into blood and therefore blood sugar levels cannot be regulated effectively.
Because of the large amounts of sugar in the blood patients often become very thirsty, lose weight uncontrollably, are tired and urinate more often. If you child is showing these symptoms there is chance he or she has (or will soon) developed diabetes type 1. In this case you should take your child to the doctor’s office and have his or hers blood sugar levels measured. A normal value of fasting blood sugar is below 6.2 mmol/l. Refer to blood sugar levels chart for more information.
If your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes this does not mean the end of the world for him or her and neither does for you. You and your child can live a normal life, although some changes to every day routine are required in order to avoid possible complications. Diabetes type 1 is, unfortunately, an unrecoverable condition.
Treatment of type 1 diabetes consists of regular blood sugar measurements along with administering of insulin injections. Children usually require 2 to 6 injections of insulin daily. The dose of insulin should be carefully adjusted according to the planned meals, activities throughout the day and especially with regard to the level of blood sugar measured and amount of ketone bodies found in urine.
Usually, only insulin injections are not sufficient for good management of diabetes type 1. Children should follow a healthy and balanced diet and engage in physical activity, be it some kind of sports or plain walking / jogging. It is suggested that a child with diabetes should eat 5 smaller meals per day. A diet should include less fat and no simple sugars. Instead of simple sugars your child should eat more whole wheat products (such as pasta or rice), brown bread and all types of fruit and vegetables.
For more information consult your child’s personal doctor.