Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 In Children
What is diabetes mellitus type 1?
Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 In Children Care Guide
Diabetes mellitus type 1 is a disease that affects how your child's body makes insulin and uses glucose (sugar). Insulin is a hormone that helps his body take sugar out of his blood and use it for energy.
What causes diabetes mellitus type 1?
Normally, when the blood sugar level increases, the pancreas makes more insulin. Type 1 diabetes develops because your child's immune system destroys pancreas cells that make insulin. His pancreas cannot make enough insulin, so his blood sugar level continues to rise.
What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes mellitus type 1?
- More thirst than usual
- Frequent urination
- Hunger most of the time
- Weight loss without trying
- Blurred vision
How is diabetes mellitus type 1 diagnosed?
- Blood glucose test: A sample of your child's blood is tested for the amount of sugar it contains.
- Fasting plasma glucose: After your child has fasted for 8 hours, his blood sugar level is checked.
- A1c test: This blood test shows the average amount of sugar in your child's blood over the past 2 to 3 months.
- Antibody testing: This blood test may be done to test for signs that your child's immune system is attacking his pancreas.
How is diabetes mellitus type 1 treated?
Type 1 diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. The goal is to keep your child's blood sugar at a normal level. Your child may need 1 or more doses of insulin each day. Insulin can be injected or given through an insulin pump. Ask your child's caregiver which method is best for your child. He must take insulin correctly. You will be taught how to give the insulin doses.
How do I check my child's blood sugar level?
You will be taught how to check a small drop of blood with a glucose monitor. You may need to check your child's blood sugar level at least 3 times each day. Ask your child's caregiver when and how often to check during the day. Ask what your child's blood sugar levels should be before and after he eats. You may need to check for ketones in his urine or blood if his blood sugar is high. Write down the results and show them to your child's caregiver. He may use the results to make changes to your child's medicine, food, or exercise schedules.
Which foods should my child eat?
A dietitian will help you create a meal plan that will help your child keep his blood sugar level under control. Do not let your child skip meals. His blood sugar level can get too low if he takes medicine and does not eat.
- Keep track of carbohydrates: Your child's blood sugar level can get too high if he eats too many carbohydrates in one meal or snack. His dietitian will help you plan meals and snacks that have the right amount of carbohydrates.
- Offer low-fat and low-sodium foods: Examples of low-fat foods are lean cuts of meat, fish, skinless poultry (chicken and turkey), and low-fat milk. Limit foods that are high in sodium. Sodium is found in salty foods. Some examples are soy sauce, potato chips, and soup. Do not add salt to food you cook. Limit your child's use of table salt.
- Offer high-fiber foods: Foods that are a good source of fiber include vegetables, whole grain bread, and beans.
What else can I do to manage my child's diabetes?
- Keep all follow-up appointments: Your child's caregiver may want him to have additional tests to check his blood pressure, cholesterol, and A1c.
- Medicines: Make sure your child takes his insulin and other medicines as ordered.
- Exercise: Exercise can help keep your child's blood sugar level steady and help him lose weight. Have your child exercise for at least 60 minutes on most days of the week. Work with your child's caregiver to plan the best exercise program for your child. Your child may need a carbohydrate snack before, during, or after he exercises. If his blood sugar level is less than 100 mg/dL, give him a carbohydrate snack before exercise. Examples are 4 to 6 crackers, ½ banana, 8 ounces (1 cup) of milk, or 4 ounces (½ cup) of juice. Do not let your child exercise if his blood sugar level is high and he has ketones in his urine or blood.
- Weight loss: Ask caregivers if your child needs to lose weight, and how much to lose. Ask them to help you and your child create a weight loss program.
What other care will my child need for diabetes mellitus type 1?
- Medical alert identification: Make sure your child always wears medical alert jewelry or carries a card that says he has diabetes. Ask his caregiver where to get these items.
- Talk to officials at your child's school: Make sure your child's teachers know he has diabetes. Provide instructions about what to do if your child has symptoms of high or low blood sugar levels at school.
- No smoking: Cigarette smoke can worsen the problems that occur with diabetes. Do not smoke around your child, and do not let others smoke around him. Do not let your child smoke. Ask your child's caregiver for information about how to stop smoking if you need help quitting.
- Pregnancy education: If you have an older daughter who has diabetes, explain the risk of problems when diabetes is poorly managed. Ask her caregiver for more information about diabetes, birth control, and pregnancy.
- Ask about vaccines: Diabetes can put your child at risk of serious illness if he gets the flu or pneumonia. Ask your child's caregiver if your child should get a flu or pneumonia vaccine, and when to get the vaccine.
What are the risks of diabetes mellitus type 1 in children?
- Even with treatment, your child may be at an increased risk of thyroid or Celiac disease. If he is diagnosed after puberty, he may need cholesterol and other blood levels checked regularly. Certain medicines used to treat diabetes may increase the risk of pancreas or thyroid problems.
- Uncontrolled diabetes can damage your child's nerves, veins, and arteries. High blood sugar levels may damage other body tissue and organs over time, such as your child's eyes and kidneys. Diabetes can be life-threatening if it is not treated.
Where can I find more information?
- American Diabetes Association
1701 North Beauregard Street
Alexandria , VA 22311
Phone: 1- 800 - 342-2383
Web Address: http://www.diabetes.org
When should I contact my child's caregiver?
Contact your child's caregiver if:
- Your child is vomiting or has an upset stomach.
- Your child feels dizzy or has headaches.
- Your child feels weak or more tired than usual.
- Your child has numbness in his arms or legs.
- Your child has red, dry skin.
- Your child gets easily irritated.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
When should I seek immediate care?
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your child has blurred or double vision.
- Your child is having trouble staying awake or focusing.
- Your child is shaking or sweating.
- Your child's breath has a fruity, sweet smell or his breathing is deep and labored.
- Your child's heartbeat is fast and weak.
You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.