The future treatment plan for your child with type 1 diabetes (T1D) is likely the source of many questions, concerns, and anxiety for you as their parent.
Knowing that this autoimmune disorder can be treated is encouraging. If you’re a parent or caretaker, you may be wondering what you can do to ensure that your child may develop independence while still enjoying childhood activities like attending school and spending time with friends.
Keep your worries to a minimum. Although there are daily management responsibilities involved in caring for a child with type 1 diabetes, there is still enough time for your child to enjoy the same daily routine as their relatives, friends, and neighbors.
Highlighting the Varieties of Childhood Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes in kids are the two most common types of disease. Diabetes can strike at any age, but type 1 is more commonly diagnosed in young children.
1. Type 1 diabetes
When the pancreas stops making enough of a hormone called insulin, the result is type 1 diabetes. This prevents glucose from being utilized by the body, leading to a rise in blood glucose levels. Unused sugars (also known as glucose) are excreted in the urine together with a little amount of water.
Although the onset of type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, there are two peak ages: 5–6 and 11–13. One of the first symptoms is an increase in urination, especially at night, which can lead a child who has been successfully potty trained to begin wetting the bed once again. Other significant effects include increased appetite and thirst as well as weight loss.
2. Type 2 diabetes
For a long time, those who developed type 2 diabetes were referred to as having “adult-onset” diabetes because the disease was so uncommon in children. However, as childhood obesity rates continue to rise, an increasing number of children—some as young as 10—are being diagnosed with this type of condition. Children are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes if they have a family history of the disease, are overweight, were born to a mother who developed diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), or who has another condition that compromises her ability to use insulin effectively.
Similar to type 1 diabetes, symptoms may develop gradually over time. Skin discoloration, especially on the face, neck, or arms, is also prevalent.
Helping Your Child Readjust: Advice from Parents
The requirements of children vary with their ages. With time and practice, you can teach your child the skills they’ll need to take charge of their diabetes. When discussing diabetes, it’s important to be open and prepared for questions.
Both what you say and do have an impact. Make sure you’re using age-appropriate vocabulary when talking to your kid:
- For infants and toddlers: While administering painful procedures like shots or fingersticks, reassure your youngster in a soothing voice and with soothing phrases. These routines will soon become as natural to your child as changing diapers or preparing for a nap.
- For preschoolers: Explaining routine medical procedures, such as administering an injection, should be done using clear language. Try to make your youngster feel like they have some say in things whenever possible. Give them the option of where to acquire their insulin, which finger to use for a fingerstick, and where on their body they wish to wear a CGM. Children learn a great deal through observing their parents at work and taking an active role in their care. It’s been shown that when youngsters become involved early on, they’re better prepared to take charge of their own care as they get older.
- For kids in grade school through middle school: If you feel comfortable doing so, encourage your child to take on greater responsibility for managing their diabetes under your watchful eye. The trick is to take baby steps. The best way to teach responsibility is to start with a small step. The diabetes care team at your child’s school can also offer advice on age-appropriate activities.
- For teens: Put yourself in your teen’s shoes and inquire as to how he or she is coping with diabetes at school and among peers. Don’t pass any quick judgments as you listen. It’s crucial for teenagers to fit in socially, and this can lead them to experiment with substances that may have an effect on their blood sugar levels. Therefore, let’s have a conversation regarding drugs and alcohol. Your engagement in your adolescent’s diabetes management is another point of discussion. Discuss the best means of maintaining contact between the two of you.
How do you know if your child needs help?
If you have any concerns about your child, you should contact a nurse practitioner or child specialist if you see that they are:
- Changing your normal sleep schedule by either sleeping more or less
- modifying one’s normal eating pattern by eating more or less
- Performing poorly in school
- More irritable and negative than normal
- High levels of waist circumference
- He lost interest in activities he used to love (not wanting to hang out with friends or play football anymore)
In spite of the fact that diabetes currently has no cure, it is manageable in children and can allow them to live healthy lives.
Keep in touch with the pediatrician doctor who is treating your kid. Your blood sugar goal will be communicated to you by him. Your child’s development and changes may alter this range.
1. Does diabetes affect learning?
Problems with focus, memory, speed, and perception can all be side effects of uncontrolled diabetes, which can have an impact on a child’s ability to learn if the disease isn’t treated.
2. Does diabetes change the way kids act?
Children with type 1 diabetes may exhibit defiant or cranky behavior due to the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Any alterations in behavior may indicate a dip in blood glucose, so keep an eye out for them.
3. Can diabetes impair a kid’s development?
If a diabetic child’s blood glucose levels are tightly controlled, the youngster should experience normal growth and development. Growth and development can be severely impacted by a child’s frequent episodes of elevated blood sugar and ketoacidosis.