Diabetes Management in Children for Various Condition

There is no treatment that can replace insulin for children with type 1 diabetes. Children who have type 1 diabetes must use injected insulin every day to survive.

Updated: August 15, 2020

There is no treatment that can replace insulin for children with type 1 diabetes. Children who have type 1 diabetes must use injected insulin every day to survive. The amount of sugar in your child's blood can change unpredictably, even if your child takes insulin and eats on a tight schedule.


Management of Diabetes in Children:

While managing your child's diabetic you need to take care of certain things.

Healthy Diet:

It could be a challenging task for you to understand your child's diet to manage his or her diabetes. A dietitian can help you create a meal plan that fits your child's health goals, food preferences and lifestyle. Foods that are high in nutrition and low in fat and calories with  plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains would be a good choice. Foods that are high in fat should be avoided as this may cause a spike in blood sugar several hours after your child has eaten. If you have given the child an insulin injection to cover more food than he or she ate, it could be a problem.


Regular Exercise:

Make physical activity such as aerobic exercise  part of your child's daily routine. Physical activity usually lowers blood sugar. Hence if your child begins a new activity, check your child's blood sugar more often than usual until you learn how his or her body reacts to the activity. To compensate for the increased activity, you might need to adjust your child's meal plan or insulin doses. Your child may need a snack before exercise.


Illness:

Illness has varying effects on your child's insulin need. During illness the hormones produced in your child's body raises blood sugar levels, but reduced carbohydrate intake due to poor appetite or vomiting . This results in lowering the insulin requirement. Work with your child's doctor for a sick-day management plan.


Growth Spurts and Puberty:

During growth period of your child hormones can affect insulin requirements, particularly for teenage girls as they begin to menstruate.


Sleep:

You might need to adjust your child's insulin routine to avoid problems with low blood sugar during the night. Ask your doctor about good pre-bedtime blood sugar levels.


Sign and Symptoms of Trouble:

Despite your best efforts, certain short term complications of type 1 diabetes  such as low blood sugar, high blood sugar and ketoacidosis arises. Left untreated, these conditions can cause seizures and loss of consciousness (coma).


Hypoglycemia or Low Blood Sugar Level:

Hypoglycemia is a condition where your child's blood sugar level is below the target range. This can happen because of skipping a meal, getting more physical activity than normal or injecting too much insulin. Hypoglycemia can always be determined by doing a blood test. 

Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Hunger
  • Shakiness
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Lethargy
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion or agitation
  • Loss of coordination
  • Odd behavior
  • Loss of consciousness

If your child has a low blood sugar reading or has any sign and symptoms of hypoglycemia:

  • Give your child fruit juice, glucose water, sweet or another source of sugar immediately
  • Retest the blood sugar in about 15 minutes to make sure it has gone up into the normal range
  • If the blood sugar level is still low, give some more juice and then retest in another 15 minutes

Left untreated, low blood sugar will cause your child to lose consciousness and the child may need an insulin that stimulates the release of sugar into the blood. Make sure your child always carries a source of fast-acting sugar.


Hyperglycemia or High Blood Sugar Level:

Hyperglycemia is a condition where your child's blood sugar level is higher then target range. Blood sugar levels can rise due to illness, eating too much, eating the wrong types of foods and not taking enough insulin.


Signs and symptoms of high blood sugar include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst or dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision

If hyperglycemia is suspected:

  •     Check your child's blood sugar
  •     Give an additional dose of insulin if blood sugar is above your child's target range
  •     Wait 15 minutes, and then recheck your child's blood sugar
  •     Adjust your child's meal plan or medications to prevent high blood sugar in the future

Diabetes ketoacidosis:

If your child's body can't get enough glucose for fuel, it breaks down fat cells instead. This creates chemicals called ketones. Severe lack of insulin causes excess ketones build up in your child's blood and are spilled in the urine, a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Untreated DKA can be life threatening.


Signs and symptoms of DKA include:

  •     Thirst or very dry mouth
  •     Increased urination
  •     Dry or flushed skin
  •     A sweet, fruity smell on your child's breath
  •     Nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain
  •     Exhaustion
  •     Confusion

If your child has a blood sugar reading above 240 mg/dL or DKA is suspected, check your child's urine for excess ketones with an over-the-counter ketone test kit. If your child's blood sugar level is high or if ketones are present,  don't allow him or her child to exercise. In this condition call your child's doctor or seek emergency care. 


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