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Diabetes Positive Approach, Issue #1302-- Cope with Diabetes; Live Healthy
February 05, 2013
We can admire what other people can do but we should remember that we can improve our own skill. Sometimes it takes only more effort and time for us to improve our own ability. And of course, having more experience can greatly improve our competence especially in in dealing with children and diabetes.
In This Issue:
Diabetes in children is not easy to understand especially the causes and risk factors. Even the scientists cannot pinpoint the causes. All they can say is that the islet cells in the pancreas that produce insulin are destroyed by the immune system of the body in most people.
Some say that genetics can make some develop type 1 diabetes. Others say some viruses can trigger the development of the disease. In other words, the cause is not known except that the body destroys the cells that produce insulin by mistake instead of fighting the viruses and bacteria that are harmful to the body.
Although, the precise cause of type 1 diabetes is not clear, some believe it comes from an infection or toxin to people who are predisposed to develop a destructive response against two things: molecules of the B cell that look like a viral protein or a changed pancreatic B proteins. They now say it is not caused by consuming too much sugar or by obesity.
The effect of course of the destroyed islet cells is that the child will not have insulin or just have a little bit. There is therefore no insulin or very little of it to help the glucose enter the cells. This is not good because this glucose supplies energy to the tissues and muscles.
You see the insulin helps the sugar to enter the body cells and therefore lessens the amount of sugar in the blood stream. With no insulin to process the entry of the glucose into the cells, it remains in the blood stream building up to such levels that can cause complications that threaten life.
Scandinavia has the highest occurrence of type 1 diabetes, about 20 % of all diabetes cases. In the US, type 1 diabetes is about 5 to 10% of all diabetes cases. It is less than 1% in China and Japan. No matter what the statistics say, it is disturbing to find that about 35 children in the US are diagnosed with this condition each day.
The risk to develop type 1 diabetes is much more than other severe chronic diseases. Siblings of a child with diabetes are 100 times more likely to develop juvenile diabetes than a family that does not have juvenile diabetes. The risk factors are not many although the scientists are still studying more possibilities.
Here are the Known Risk Factors
Here are the Possible Risk Factors
2. Exposure to virus like mumps, Epstein-Barr virus and coxsackievirus may activate the islet cells destruction. Either that or the virus itself may infect the cells directly.
3. Some nutritional factors may increase the risk. The time when cereal is introduced to the baby's diet may affect the risk to develop type 1 diabetes, the best time being between 3 and 7 months old. Omega-3 fatty acids they say may protect one from developing diabetes.
4. Some other possible risk factors are the young age of mothers, like if they are less than 25, an infant with respiratory infection or jaundice soon after birth and a preeclampsia during pregnancy.
So now we know the causes and the risk factors, both known and the possible. We need to know these and more in order to have an understanding of what we are up against. Hopefully, this will be of help in the overall management of this chronic condition of diabetes in children.
Diabetes in children makes one want to understand the possible complications in order to avoid them. Almost all organs in the child's body are affected by diabetes. The heart and the blood vessels are affected and so are the eyes, kidney and feet. The skin is affected of course and so are the bones. You see, this condition is unforgiving but there is good news.
No one has to develop complications. Look at all the successful people in the news who have had diabetes since they were children. There's Mary Tyler Moore and that Supreme Court Justice. There are also numerous athletes and celebrities in other fields who did not develop complications.
There are quite a few successful people who have lived a normal life and carried on with their successful career without being held back by diabetes. It is good to know what these people did to avoid the complications. Do you know what their secret is? It is no secret at all. They have one thing in common and it is that they have a well controlled blood sugar level.
Let us look at the possible complications one at a time so we will appreciate the importance of a well controlled blood sugar level. Knowing that this will significantly lower the risk of these complications will make us focus on this very important aspect of management.
Neuropathy or Nerve Damage
Leaving this condition untreated could lead to total loss of feeling in the areas that are affected. It could lead to amputation and loss of limb. This does not have to happen. Working on blood sugar control will take one a long way to avoid this dreaded complication.
Blood Vessel and Heart Disease
All these can be avoided by making sure the blood sugar level is up to par and that it is within normal limit. Checking the blood sugar can be taken anywhere anyway so there is no excuse in not monitoring the blood sugar level as often as necessary. Make the child participate in this routine.
I don't want to alarm you but I just like the drive home the point the importance of keeping the blood sugar level under control. This may not be the easiest thing to do but it certainly easier than a kidney dialysis every so often and waiting for a kidney transplant so one can survive.
Skin Conditions and Osteoporosis
How do we avoid these conditions? It is simple; just make sure the blood sugar level is within the target level. I know this is old tune but it bears repeating. That's how important it is to monitor the blood sugar level. In fact it is good to let the child know if it is outside the target range.
Foot Damage and Eye Damage
It’s a blessing that the child’s blood sugar level can be checked anywhere anytime. The use of a glucose meter can give you the results sometimes in less than a minute. Knowing this not only helps avoid foot as well as eye damage, but also, it is good to know this before an emergency strikes.
There you have a list of the possible complications that can easily be avoided. Checking the blood sugar level is the single most important thing to do. Knowing the blood sugar level will help to treat either the high or the low blood sugar level, making it possible to correct the situation before it gets out of hand. This is one way to understand better diabetes in children.
“In 2012, I learned that it’s not always my fault if my diabetes gets out of control, like if my insulin is bad or something. All I can do is my best.” - Leanne Ortbals
6. Some Humour - Let's laugh together at this joke even if it's not funny. We just want you to forget, just for a moment what you are going through. Laughing will help get us healthy. You know what an Oxford University's study found? Laughter makes the body release the same endorphins that exercise gives out.
This leads to the feeling of euphoria mixed with serenity. This is what we want you to have. Mind you, the laughter is not just the type they call polite titters. To maximize the benefit, the laughter should be the full-fledged belly laugh. It is the kind that gives the diaphragm a workout.
Light of the Home
Child: "Mom, my teacher said the mother is the light of the home."
Mother: "Really? That's nice of her. Thank her for me will you?"
Child: "How about Dad? What is he called at home?"
Mother: "Tell your teacher, he's the one who turns off the light."
Drop us a line at our contact form and write your questions or comment there.
7. Question: "What does monitoring the blood sugar at home mean? And How do we do that?"
Monitoring the blood sugar at home means checking the blood sugar level of the diabetic child with the use of a blood sugar monitor at home. This is also called self testing. A child who has just been newly diagnosed may need more testing at first but if the blood sugar level is within the target range, he may need to be tested only at breakfast every day and sometimes during the day. Those who take insulin though need to be tested more often several times a day.
Here's how to test a child's blood sugar:
1. Collect a drop of blood, by pricking the side of the finger with a lancet or a small needle.
2. Place the blood drop on the test strip that is inserted into the meter. Sometimes, in some meters, the test strip is inserted into the meter after putting the drop of blood on it.
3. Regardless, the meter will show the result of the test in a minute or sometimes less.
8. Got something to say? Please write down your questions and comments in the contact form in our website.
Now that we have come to the end of this issue, whether we take care of children with diabetes or not, the important thing to remember is that all of us can succeed because we possess a success mechanism. We just have to accept that each of us has his own talents and abilities.
Even birds have their own success mechanism. How do we know this? Well they know when to migrate, don't they? So if the birds have this success mechanism, how much more us when we have the ability to form goals? We can help direct this by using our imagination.
Roger and Evelyn Guzman
Did you like this newsletter? If so, please recommend it to your friends. If you have any questions or tips, please leave a comment at our contact form and write your questions or comment there. This newsletter is copyright 2012 Roger Guzman, M.D.
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