Parenting a Diabetic Child
Diabetes in children is becoming a common concern and needs to be dealt with immediately. It is important to make your child stay away from unhealthy habits that increase his vulnerability to diabetes. Also, find out how to deal with a diabetic child with care.
There are diseases that can be cured and then there are ones which stay with you for a lifetime. Diabetes is one such disease that can hamper the normal functioning of your child. In recent years, with the increase in unhealthy lifestyles, cases of diabetes are increasing at an alarming level. Many children develop diabetes and find it hard to cope with life. This is why parents should have proper knowledge of this disease and be ready to deal with it efficiently.
Causes of Diabetes in Children
Diabetes is a disease that impacts the body’s usage of glucose (sugar that is responsible for fuelling the body). As you eat, the glucose from the food gets into your bloodstream. Then your pancreas produces a hormone known as insulin. This aids the entry of glucose into body’s cells, giving you the energy it needs. However, in case of a diabetic patient, the body loses the capability to produce insulin or the insulin does not work as efficiently as it should. This disrupts the glucose flow in the body cells, causing blood sugar to go high; making people sick. There are two types of diabetes that your child can be affected from:
Types of Diabetes in Children
1. Type 1 Diabetes
This one is known as juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes, in which the pancreas becomes incapable of producing insulin. The body keeps getting glucose from the food, but it is not able to get to body cells and thus stays in the blood. This causes many health problems. There is no particular cause for this, but many studies blame the genes for it.
To know if your kid has type 1 diabetes, look out for the signs below:
- He will pee a lot
- Will get tired a lot.
- Drink lots of water.
- Eat a lot, as the body needs the energy it is otherwise not getting from sugar.
- Starts losing weight as his body will start to use the muscle and fat fuel due to lack of sugar.
Dealing with Type 1 Diabetic Children
- Make sure you get their sugar levels checked often.
- Get them insulin shots or an insulin pump.
- Ensure that they exercise every day.
- Take them to a doctor for regular checkups and follow a healthy diet.
- Keep them packed with snacks. They might need to eat in-between, for example, in their school bus.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
A few years back this was a rare thing in children. They used to experience only type 1 diabetes. However, in the recent past many cases of type 2 diabetic children have been recorded. What was once known as adult-onset diabetes, is now a common occurrence in children too. In this type, the child’s body cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, causing glucose to build up in the bloodstream. The high level of blood sugar can lead to problems such as kidney failure, blindness and heart disease.
- Your child would experience frequent episodes of urination
- Might complain of a blurred vision
- He will have problems with breathing
- Develop an itchy skin
- Show unexplained weight loss
- Have problems like dry mouth or fatigue
- His body will take time to heal from normal cuts and scrap
Dealing with Type 2 Diabetic Child
- Talk with your child honestly, but supportively about health and weight. Encourage your child to speak up about his or her concerns.
- Encourage him to spend time with his mates and not resign to his room. Diabetes can have effects on the child’s self-esteem.
- Take him for periodic doctor visits.
- Keep a check on his diet.
- For better results, make the entire family follow a healthier way of living.
Preventing Diabetes in Children
In many cases you can prevent diabetes in children by following certain steps.
Keep them off Unhealthy Food Items
It is very important to make your child understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle. This is not merely vital to keep them away from diabetes, but many other chronic diseases. Make sure their intake of junk food is to the minimum, and healthy items are a lot more.
Plan out a healthy diet regime and make your child exercise every day. Help him stay away from a sedentary lifestyle.
Keep Away from Sugar
Keep a control on your child’s intake of sugar consumption, if he has a history of diabetic patients in the family.
Help your child maintain a distance from this disease, as much as possible. In cases where it is hereditary, ensure he follows a strict regime with his lifestyle and keep his sugar levels in check.