Children with Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that affects the entire family. In recent years, more and more children are diagnosed with type 1 or juvenile diabetes. It can be a blow and a shock to parents if one of their children is suddenly diagnosed with diabetes. Once the shock wears off, parents and diabetic children will need to work closely with doctors for a comprehensive treatment and management plan to ensure effective control of diabetes.
Daily life of a family with a diabetic child can be tough at the beginning but once a management system is in place, diabetes should not constrain any child from reaching his or her highest potentials. First step is to have a controlled meal and physical activity plan that is closely coordinated with the insulin therapy the child is taking. Changes in daily routine or deviations from it also mean an accompanying change in the child’s diabetes management. Too much stress or excitement has been observed to affect a child’s blood glucose. Changes in eating or sleeping pattern, like during summer for example, has also potentially dangerous effect on blood glucose level.
Hypoglycemia or extremely low blood glucose is real concern for diabetic children as it can happen when least expected. Parents of diabetic children are advised to have supplies ready to treat hypoglycemia. Supplies like glucose tablets, instant or fast-acting source of sugar like soda, candies or even table sugar can become a child’s life-saver during a hypoglycemic episode. Two glucagon kits are also required to be present all the time in case of severe hypoglycemia resulting to unconsciousness or incapability to take glucose orally.
If a child is on injections via insulin syringes, used needles have to be disposed safely. It is never advised to recycle used needles. To be safe, needles have to be contained in pierce-proof containers for disposal.
Perhaps the hardest hurdle that a child with diabetes has to injure is the frequent “poking” either with a lancet or needles during regular blood glucose checks or insulin therapy. The pain and discomfort has to be limited as much as possible. Parents may look into the possibility of using lancing devices for easy and almost pain-free drawing of blood sample. Insulin can also be delivered via insulin pens or insulin pumps. Insulin pumps eliminate the need for multiple daily insulin injections and latest models are even water-proof and have glucose meters integrated into them.
Parents more than ever need to ask questions regarding their child’s diabetes. The best way to help a diabetic child is to be well-informed and consistent in carrying out a child’s diabetes management plan.