In this day and age, parents will always want the best for their children. Unfortunately, there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Even worse is the fact that some problems are completely unavoidable. When your child has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you’re likely going to feel devastated and frightened. Just calm yourself down, because it is entirely possible to go through life with type 1 diabetes. In fact, there are tons of people that life a great life with this condition. Below, you will gain a deeper understanding of type 1 diabetes in children.
Type I Diabetes
In most cases, Type I diabetes is diagnosed during childhood. However, it can also appear in early adulthood and is caused by the body being unable to break down starches and sugars into glucose, a simple sugar that is utilized for energy. According to the American Diabetes Association, only 5 percent of people who have been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus have Type I diabetes. That number adds up to about 1.25 million people living in the United States. Approximately 40,000 new cases are reported each year.
What Is Insulin?
Insulin is a type of hormone that is responsible for helping the body move glucose from the bloodstream to the cells throughout the body. The beta cells in the pancreas secrete insulin, but in some cases, the body cannot produce insulin. In those cases, people rely on insulin injections, which is available in 20 different types in the United States. Each type of insulin is unique in how it works in the body, how it is made and how much it cost. Primary care physicians and endocrinologists determine what type of insulin and how much is needed for individual people.
How Insulin Is Administered?
People with Type I diabetes are required to take insulin and some people with Type II diabetes also need it to control their blood glucose levels. Insulin is administered subcutaneously and through a pump and catheter that is placed under the skin. While endocrinologists recommend administering insulin in the same areas of the body, you should not be administered in the exact same place. For instance, if you inject the medicine into the subcutaneous tissue in your abdominal area, you should stay within that area, but avoid injecting into the same injection site to avoid skin irritation and infection. Parents should follow the recommendations when administering insulin to their children.
Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels
There are two major downsides to Type I diabetes for young children, constant blood glucose monitoring and avoiding foods that are enjoyed by others. Before your child goes to school, you must visit the institution and speak with the nurse and other staff members. It is important to make them aware of your child’s condition, so they do not give them a food that is permitted and will know how to handle hypoglycemia episodes.
How Is Type I Diabetes Diagnosed?
Type I diabetes is diagnosed through lab testing, which is conducted at a hospital or primary care clinic. If your child begins to exhibit signs of diabetes, the pediatrician will recommend glucose testing. Blood will be drawn and tested to determine if the glucose levels are normal, high or low. Only one positive A1C test is required, along with symptoms of diabetes to determine the diagnosis. However, some physicians will order another test, just to make sure the levels point to Type I diabetes.
The physician may request for the child not to consume anything at least eight hours prior to the testing. So, be sure to follow the recommendations, because if you fail to do so the test may render a false negative result.
Potential Causes Of Type 1 Diabetes
Believe it or not, the underlying cause of type 1 diabetes is completely unknown. However, it is widely believed by medical experts and doctors that the problem originates with the body’s immune system. It is thought that the immune system begins destroying the islet cells in the pancreas. These cells are responsible for producing insulin and this leads to a problem within the body. After the islet cells have been destroyed, the child’s body is no longer able to produce a sufficient amount of insulin. In return, this leads to an excessive amount of glucose in the child’s bloodstream and could result in life threatening complications.
Potential Risks Factors Of Type 1 Diabetes
There is an abundance of factors that can increase your child’s risk of suffering from type 1 diabetes. For starters, your family history could play a role. It is believed that people that have a parent or sibling with the disorder will be much more likely to be diagnosed with it as well. Genetic makeup is another risk factor. The presence of certain genes is often considered an indicator that the patient will develop type 1 diabetes in the near future.
Simultaneously, the race could be another risk factor. This complication is far more common in Caucasian children. Finally, certain autoimmune disorders and early consumption of cow’s milk are thought to be linked to diabetes in young children.
Long Term Complications Of Type 1 Diabetes
If you’re a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes, it is absolutely pertinent to take the appropriate steps to keep the condition under control. Failing to do so could result in serious complications in the future. For your consideration, some of the most common long-term complications will be explained in greater depth below.
- Blood Vessel and Heart Disease – Children with type 1 diabetes will have a much greater risk of developing coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. The risks of heart attacks and strokes will also be elevated.
- Kidney Damage – Diabetes is also capable of damaging the kidneys. This disease can cause serious harm to the blood vessel cluster that is responsible for filtering your child’s waste. Over a period of time, this can lead to kidney failure or even end-stage kidney disease.
- Eye Damage – The retina is home to tiny blood vessels, which may also be harmed by diabetes. If they do become damaged, the patient may begin suffering from blurry vision. In severe cases, the patient may develop blindness, cataracts or glaucoma.
- Damage To The Nerves – The child’s nerves may also be damaged by excess sugar. Primarily, this will impact the child’s legs and will lead to numbness or a burning sensation. In general, nerve damage takes place over an extended period of time.
Since the risks associated with type 1 diabetes are so frightening, it is absolutely vital to avoid them at all costs. Always do your best to take the appropriate measures to keep your child’s condition in check. By doing so, you will be able to ensure that your child maintains a high quality of life and is able to avoid the aforementioned complications.
The Symptoms Of Type I Diabetes In Children
Diabetes is a serious condition that is becoming more and more common in children. Sometimes children aren’t the most acute when it comes to monitoring their health and sickness symptoms. This is why it is imperative for you as an adult to be completely aware of the signs and symptoms. So, you can speak with a doctor and get a proper diagnosis immediately, before the condition causes serious damage.
- Increased Appetite– increased hunger is something that should be pretty noticeable right away. This occurs because without the proper amount of insulin in the body your child’s cells cannot properly move the sugar, which leaves the muscles and organs lacking energy, and trying to compensate through appetite.
- Weight Loss– even though your child will be eating more and more it is highly likely that he or she will drop in weight. Sometimes this can even occur pretty rapidly and the weight loss can be extreme. This happens because your child’s body does not have enough energy, which is normally supplied by sugar levels. When the energy levels are at a low like this it causes the muscles tissues and fat to just shrink.
- Unexplained Fatigue– due to the lack of sugar in your child’s body it is likely that he or she will experience unexplained fatigue.
- Unexplained Bad Breath– when the body burns fat instead of sugar it causes the body to produce a certain substance that can cause bad breath.
- More Thirst And Urination– when there is an excessive amount of sugar in your child’s bloodstream it actually pulls fluids from tissue in the body, which results in extreme thirst. Sometimes in younger children with all the extra fluid consumption, this can lead to bed-wetting.
- Behavioral Changes– if you notice mood swings or sudden unexplained poor performance in school it is possible that your child might be suffering from type I diabetes.
- Blurred Vision– blurred vision is one of the most common symptoms of diabetes in children and adults. This condition usually occurs due to the fact that the blood sugar levels are too high, and they try to compensate by pulling fluids from the lenses of the eyes, which results in blurred vision.
- Rashes And Yeast Infections– young girls that are suffering from type I diabetes may develop yeast infections. Sometimes babies with diabetes will develop diaper rashes.
Developing An Emergency Plan
Diabetes is a serious life-threating disease that can lead to serious compilations at times if not properly monitored and maintained. Even at a time with proper monitoring and eating right the disease can still take over, and this is why it is imperative to always have an emergency plan in place. You child can wear medical alert ID tags, bracelets, jewelry, and carry an emergency supply of insulin at all times. Always be sure that the people in your child’s life like his or her friends, teachers, coaches, and roommates are aware of the condition and what to do in the event of an emergency.
Also, explain to your child that his or her body is going to react differently to stress and exercise than it did before. Staying hydrated and well rested will be two major keys to fighting and staying ahead of this terrible condition.
Treatment For Type 1 Diabetes
When it comes down to it, there is truly no cure for type 1 diabetes. Instead, the patient will need to actively manage the condition for the remainder of their life. Nevertheless, by taking the appropriate actions, the patient will be able to reduce the risks and maintain the highest quality of life. First and foremost, the patient will almost always be required to take insulin. Simultaneously, it is a good idea to teach your child to count their carbs, protein, and fat intake.
Teaching your child how to properly monitor their blood sugar level is a necessity. Finally, you should also go above and beyond to instill the importance of a good diet into your child’s mind. Make sure that they’re willing to eat the right foods and exercise regularly. Canadian Insulin offers insulin medications that will be needed as a part of your child’s treatment plan.
Different Types Of Insulin
There are several different types of insulin and they can all prove to be helpful for type 1 diabetics. There is a short-acting, rapid-acting, intermediate acting, and long-acting insulin. By consulting with your child’s primary physician, you’ll be able to determine precisely which medication is right for them. Simultaneously, it should be known that insulin can be administered in several different ways. Type 1 diabetics can give themselves an injection or they can opt to utilize an insulin pump.
If you’re going to teach your child how to give him or herself insulin injections, it is pertinent to make sure that the injection is made under the skin. The insulin pump is a good alternative, but it must be worn throughout the day. For the average child, it will become an annoyance very quickly.
When To Test Your Child’s Blood Sugar
It is generally a good idea to keep an eye on your child’s blood sugar throughout the day. Of course, some times are much more important than others. For instance, the American Diabetes Association recommends that diabetic children test their blood sugar levels before meals and snacks. Blood sugar should be checked before bed, exercising or driving as well. If the child begins feeling weird and you suspect the feelings could be linked to low blood sugar, it is pertinent to check their blood sugar immediately.
Teach your child to monitor their own blood sugar, since this skill will come in very handy in the future! Eventually, your child will familiarize him or herself with the feelings of blood sugar level changes. This will allow them to take action accordingly.