Diabetes in Children, How to Deal With This


Diabetes in children after the diagnosis often drives parents on a frantic search to learn everything they can about managing the condition. This is a change that can alter the dynamics in the family. What the parents should do is to step back so they will not get stressed out. An exhausted parent is the last thing a diabetic child will need.

It's true, it is good to learn as much as possible about diabetes in children but one does not have to take it in too fast. The number one main concern is to help the young people manage the diabetes at the same time to keep life as normal as possible. It is not easy I know. Keeping all the relationship in the family running smoothly will be difficult.


Don't you think it will be a lot easier if one keeps cool? This will set up as the role model for the kids. The rest of the family will need this to help them make a transition and adopt to the changes that are expected. A family meeting could be set up where the parents can guide the rest to make some suggestions like the following:

  • Try to be helpful and understanding without trying to be a caretaker.
  • Learn as much as one can about the care of diabetes in children.
  • Be open to new ways of eating and activities to accommodate everyone in the family.
  • Learn to listen sympathetically.
  • Lend a hand to everyone to keep the rules instead of breaking them.
  • Make plan for emergency situations.

It takes time to learn everything about diabetes in children but as one gains knowledge. one will grow to be more confident in dealing with the situation. There are books and websites and diabetes research in children's network that can help one get a grasp of the condition and eventually develop an age-appropriate treatment plan. This will be the starting point and it also depends on what type of diabetes the child has.

Let us deal with type 1 diabetes in children first. What are the signs and symptoms that will give one a clue? These are one of the children's health issues that concern parents. These symptoms develop rapidly and the first indication could be a yeast infection that could lead to a severe diaper rash. The child could become easily tired and irritable along with urinating often, extreme hunger and thirst and weight loss.

Take the child to the doctor who will probably take a random blood glucose test to see if the blood glucose level is high. There is no preparation for this test as this can be done at anytime of day. If the result is 200 mg/dL then the diagnosis is confirmed. We now have to deal with the diagnosis, management and treatment of diabetes in children.

Sometimes, the doctor may request for a fasting blood glucose test. What is this? Well the child has to refrain from eating or drinking for eight hours before the test which can easily be done overnight. A normal reading is 100 mg/dL. A reading of between 100 to 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes which means there is a high risk of developing the condition.

What do you think is the diagnosis if the reading is over 126 mg/dL or over? That's right, it's diabetes but the doctor will probably give another test. It is after this that a parent has to gather a team who is experienced and will help fight against diabetes in children headed by a pediatric endocrinologist.

The doctor may also test for ketones in the child's urine because these are toxic and if in excess could lead to DKA which is diabetic ketoacidosis that could threaten life. But don't worry because if this is treated promptly, it can be reversed with insulin therapy. Diabetes in children does not need to scare us or we will not be able to act in a positive manner.

All with type 1 diabetes will depend on insulin to live. The child or the parent may take insulin with the use of a syringe, an insulin pen or an insulin pump. But all have to do this primary care to keep the glucose control goals in mind and keep them to these levels. Here they are:

Glucose Control Goals
Age Blood Glucose Goal Before Meals Blood Glucose Goal at Bedtime and Overnight
Toddlers and Five Years and Younger 100 to 180 mg/dL 110 to 200 mg/dL
6-12 years old 90-180 mg/dL 100-150 mg/dL
13-19 years old 90-130 mg/dL 90-150 mg/dL

In addition to the glucose control that the parent and the child do at home with a glucose meter to see if the levels are on track, every three months, the doctor will also give a test called A1C test which will give the average reading over the two or three months. For this juvenile diabetes of those five years and younger, the A1C goal is 7.5-8.5%, for 6-12 years old, it's less than 8% and for 13 to 19 years old, it's less than 7.5%.

Insulin therapy has the goal of keeping the blood glucose level as normal as possible. The insulin regimens most often used are multiple daily injections, split-mixed program and an insulin pump. On another web page we will continue this discussion on diabetes in children with type 2. Hopefully, we will be able to touch on the care of these children in day care and school settings.

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