Juvenile Diabetes

Diabetes in children- Is all hope lost?

Children are usually afflicted with Type 1 diabetes. In this Juvenile diabetes the pancreas stops producing insulin, the bio-chemical hormone required to absorb sugar into our body. The body too becomes autoimmune, recognizing its own parts as foreign intruders. In such circumstances, the insulin-producing cells are deemed as intruders and thus killed.

How serious is the problem?
Type 1 diabetes in children is a medical complication which emerges from a mix of genetic and natural factors. However, it is not hereditary in nature. Due to this, a General Physician is not sufficient for its treatment. One needs to avail the services of a hospital in order to treat the ailment. Hence, the moment Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed, you should try to get an appointment with a regional specialist in childhood diabetes.

Can diabetes in children be treated?

Some have conjectured that the body becoming autoimmune is something which can not be reversed through treatment. This means that insulin-producing cells that were treated as hostile intruders and thus dealt with adequately would never regenerate. However, just because the insulin-producing cells are dead does not mean that this type of diabetes can not be treated. Children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes would require insulin treatment.

In insulin treatment, the hormone's deficiency inside the child's body is eliminated through external methods. An insulin-administration routine is prepared by a diabetes team on a day to day basis. Since there is no other way to do it, insulin is administered through injections. For children, this can be a small ordeal. However, they become more receptive as they grow up.

Details about the insulin routine:
The insulin routine begins with what is known as the 'honeymoon period'. This is the first year after the diagnosis of the problem. In this period, the child is administered only small doses of insulin during the day and at night. After that, the insulin routine gets modified according to the demands of the body.

In case of very small children, insulin is normally not injected before they go to bed. However, the need to do so emerges as they grow up. At older stages, the need to administer a dose of slow-acting insulin at night emerges in order to complement the daily doses of fast-acting insulin administered during the day.

What care do the parents need to take?
Since hospital services can be frightfully expensive, parents need to take up the responsibility of administering the injection of dose to their son/daughter. Following are the tips that they can follow:

1.    Parents should learn how to administer insulin injections. The usual method is to inject insulin into the skin over the thighs or the abdomen.

2.    Parents need to teach their child how to self-administer insulin injections as soon as they are old enough to do so. The typical age of being able to learn insulin injection is nine years.

3.    Parents should learn how to measure blood glucose levels. They should also teach it to their child as soon as he/she is old enough to do so.

4.    Parents should try to know about the symptoms of diabetic acidosis and low blood glucose and what to do about them. They should also inform the school and the child's friends about what to do when symptoms of these conditions emerge.

5.    Parents should ensure that supply of glucose is always available.

6.    Apart from these steps, they should take care of the diet of the child. A diet rich in fiber and carbohydrate is an absolute must for children.