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Diabetes Positive Approach, Issue #1302-- Cope with Diabetes; Live Healthy
February 05, 2013

By now we should have accepted the fact that each one of us has our own talent, ability and unique experiences. It does not mean that we are less than other people. Nor does it mean we are better than others. So instead of feeling bad that someone can do something better than we can, let us focus on what we can do that others cannot.

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 - Part 4 Understanding the Causes and Risk Factors

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

There are two known risk factors for diabetes. One is a family history of type 1 diabetes while the other one is genetics. Some genes that are present can indicate the risk to develop type 1 diabetes. Some are tested to see whether a child with a type 1 diabetes history in the family has an increased risk to develop the same condition.

Here are the Possible Risk Factors

1. Not enough Vitamin D - Studies have shown that vitamin D can help avoid type 1 diabetes although history has shown that early consumption of cow's milk has been found to increase the risk to type 1 diabetes.

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.

2. Must-Reads from Around the Web

Binge Drinking Raises Risk For Type 2 Diabetes Via Insulin Resistance

Diabetes Alert Dog Helps Local Family

Atkins Overcomes Diagnosis of Diabetes to Lead Thorndale Girls Basketball Team

Savings Seen on Diabetes Supplies, Other Equipment

Girl Saves Mom During Diabetic Attack

3. Diabetes in Children - Part 5 Understanding the Possible Complications

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

Too much sugar in the blood can harm the capillaries thus making them unable to do their job of nourishing the nerves. This is especially true in the legs. This can lead to numbness, tingling and burning sensation that may start at the end of the toes and spread upward.

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

There are some cardiovascular problems that can develop to which the child has a risk. One such problem is coronary artery disease. This may be accompanied by pain that can lead to stroke, heart attack, atherosclerosis which is another name for narrowing of the arteries and also high blood pressure level.

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.

Nephropathy or Kidney Damage

The kidneys filter the waste from the blood. through the millions of small blood vessels. The trouble is that these small blood vessels can be damaged by diabetes. When the damage is severe enough, it can lead to kidney failure or worse, the end-stage kidney for which dialysis or kidney transplant could be the order of the day.

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

A diabetic child is vulnerable to develop skin problems. They are fungal infections and bacterial infections. Some have lost the feeling in the legs so that when a wound starts, the child may not feel anything at all. This will only worsen the wound and before you know it, the condition is too worse for any treatment to work. Diabetes also lowers the bone mineral density thus leading to 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

Diabetes can lead to poor blood flow especially to the extremities. This can increase the risk of complications to the feet. Any blisters and cuts that are not treated can become full blown infections. As for the eyes, diabetes can do harm to the blood vessels in the retina which can lead to higher risk of glaucoma, cataracts and blindness.

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.

4. A Success Quotation of the Month

“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

5. And here's the dessert recipe we promised you.

Rhubarb Pecan Muffins

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."

7. Do you have a question or comment for the team?

Drop us a line at our contact form and write your questions or comment there.

You may see your question answered in an upcoming issue of Diabetes Positive Approach like this one below.

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.

Just go to the contact form and write your questions there. Also go to the disclaimer.

Thank you for being a subscriber of Diabetes Positive Approach, !

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.

Warm Regards,

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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Did you miss the following back issues of this newsletter? Here are two of them:
Diabetes Positive Approach Newsletter 805

Diabetes Positive Approach Newsletter 806

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