Type 1 Diabetes: Children Living With the Disease
The daily care for your child with type 1 diabetes can seem overwhelming, leading to conflicts between you and your child. Here are some tips that may help:
Make eating less stressful
Mealtimes can become a battleground when you want your child to get a certain amount of Reference carbohydrate Opens New Window. You can:
- Meet regularly with a registered dietitian. A registered dietitian can help set up a flexible meal plan to meet your child's appetite needs and allow for special events, such as parties and school activities. Reference Tips for mealtimes with young children include having alternative meal choices.
- Use rapid-acting insulin so you can give the insulin dose after a meal based on what your child ate.
- Count how many grams of carbohydrate your child eats. Then you can adjust the insulin dose to match the carbohydrate. This helps you keep your child's blood sugar level in his or her target range.
- Make Reference creative snacks for your children.
Make giving insulin less difficult
Your child may take several insulin injections each day or use an Reference insulin pump Opens New Window.
Keep monitoring reasonable
If you test several times a day (before breakfast, with meals, and at bedtime), you can tell how well your child's blood sugar levels stay within a target range. You need to test more often when your child is sick. Follow the Reference sick-day guidelines that you and your child's doctor set up, or call for help. Do not give your child nonprescription medicines without talking with the doctor.
Encourage physical activity
Experts recommend that teens and children (starting at age 6) do moderate to vigorous activity at least 1 hour every day.Reference 1 And 3 or more days a week, what they choose to do should:
- Make them breathe harder and make the heart beat much faster.
- Make their muscles stronger. For example, they could play on playground equipment, play tug-of-war, lift weights, or use resistance bands.
- Make their bones stronger. For example, they could run, play hopscotch, jump rope, or play basketball or tennis.
It's okay for them to be active in smaller blocks of time that add up to 1 hour or more each day.
Children with type 1 diabetes can participate in sports just like children without diabetes. But children who use insulin are at risk for low blood sugars during and after exercise. Some Reference tips for exercising safely for your child with type 1 diabetes can help prevent low blood sugar levels. These include making sure your child drinks water and being sure your child's blood sugar is in the target range before exercising.
If your child has a tendency to be inactive, you may need to:
- Limit his or her time playing video games, watching TV, or using the computer. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to limit TV time to 2 hours a day or less.
- Plan some activities to do along with your child, such as skating or bicycling.
Catch the ups and downs
Because blood sugar levels can drop to dangerous levels very quickly:
- Have your child always wear medical identification so medical personnel can give the right care. You can buy Reference medical identification bracelets Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window, necklaces, or other forms of jewelry at a pharmacy or on the Internet.
- Make sure everyone who cares for your child knows how to treat low blood sugar quickly.
High blood sugar levels develop more slowly, over a period of hours or days.
Keep your child healthy and safe
With planning and care, your child can live a safe and healthy life. Here are some suggestions:
- Try not to let your child go barefoot. If you notice a foot problem, even a minor one, talk with a doctor before treating it.
- Keep your child's day care or school plan for diabetes care up to date.
- Have written instructions for your babysitter and other caregivers.
- Keep your child's Reference immunizations up to date.
- Help your child care for his or her Reference skin and Reference teeth and gums. Make sure your child has a dental checkup every 6 months.
Keep your balance
It's difficult to deal with such a demanding disease as diabetes. You can:
- Allow Reference children with diabetes to participate in their treatment to the extent they can.
- Join a support group for parents of children with diabetes. These groups can be very helpful, especially the first few years after diagnosis. Local groups are available in most areas.
- Encourage your child to attend Reference camps for children with diabetes. It's a good learning experience for your child and will give you some time to yourself.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 7, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Stephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology