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.
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.
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 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.
During growth period of your child hormones can affect insulin requirements, particularly for teenage girls as they begin to menstruate.
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.
If your child has a low blood sugar reading or has any sign and symptoms of hypoglycemia:
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 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.
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.