Diabetes Type 1 in Kids: What You can do as a Parent

Diabetes Type 1 in Kids: What You can do as a Parent


Diabetes is a disease that causes the  glucose level to be high. The body converts the food we eat to glucose. ‘The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies’. Diabetes occur when the body doesn’t make adequate insulin or can’t use the produced insulin. This causes increase in the blood sugar levels as a result of continuous buildup of sugar.

The resultant effects of diabetes can be serious and lead to health complications like heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations.

The following are the common Symptoms of Diabetes:

Frequent urination

Excessive thirst

Unexplained weight loss

Extreme hunger

Sudden vision changes

Tingling or numbness in hands or feet

Feeling very tired much of the time

Very dry skin

Sores that are slow to heal

More infections than usual.

‘Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains may accompany some of these symptoms in the abrupt onset of insulin-dependent diabetes, now called type 1 diabetes.’

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes, accounts for about 5% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes, formerly referred to as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes, may account for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. If not treated, it can cause problems for mothers and babies. ‘Gestational diabetes develops in 2% to 10% of all pregnancies but usually disappears when a pregnancy is over. Other specific types of diabetes resulting from specific genetic syndromes, surgery, drugs, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses may account for 1% to 5% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.’

Causes of Type1

The cause of Type 1 is linked to environmental exposure ‘such as an unidentified virus, stimulating an immune attack against the beta cells of the pancreas (that produce insulin) in some genetically predisposed people. ‘The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body from infection.’

Parents and Guardian guild lines for Children with Diabetes:

    • Be sure your child gets at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

  • Having diabetes doesn’t mean that your child can’t be physically active or participate in physical education classes. In fact, being active can help your child improve his or her blood sugar control.

  • Limit screen time—TV, video games, and the Internet—to 1 to 2 hours a day. Being active at an early age establishes good habits for a lifetime and is a lot of fun.

  • Encourage your child by being active together—doing such things as walking the dog, riding bicycles, or playing basketball—and you will get the health benefits too.

  • Help prevent sick days.

  • Check to be sure your child has had all recommended vaccinations, including the flu shot. If a child with diabetes gets sick, he or she can take longer to recover than children without diabetes. Talk to your child’s doctor to see if your child needs any vaccinations before starting the school year.

  • Encourage your child to wash his or her hands regularly, especially before eating and after using the bathroom.

  • Diabetes doesn’t have to get in the way of your child’s good experience at school. Remember, parents and schools have the same goal: to ensure that students with diabetes are safe and that they’re able to learn in a supportive environment. Make sure school staff have the information and resources they need for your child’s safety and health. Teach your child to manage diabetes during the school day.

  • Encourage your child to eat healthy foods.

  • Prepare a healthy breakfast, which will help your child stay focused and active.

  • If you send a lunch with your child, pack a healthy meal that contains whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables.

  • Replace high-fat foods with low-fat options, such as low-fat turkey, reduced-fat cheese, and skim milk. Include healthy snacks, such as fruit, nuts, or seeds, which your child can eat later in the day to avoid the vending machine and keep blood sugar under control.

  • If your child buys meals at school, look at the cafeteria menus together to help him or her make choices for a healthy meal plan. Many schools post their menus online, or you can request this information from school workers.          

Being active can help your child improve his or her blood sugar control.



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