- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Children with Diabetes - Juvenile Diabetes
Imagine living with a disease that requires you to take a prick for a blood test every week for as long as you live.
Imagine living with a disease that has no cure. One which you are stuck with no matter how healthy you eat or live.
Imagine being a child of less than 10 years of age with such a disease.
For many million children all over the world there is no need to imagine this. They are indeed living with such a disease. Its called Juvenile Diabetes
What is Diabetes
Diabetes is the auto immune disease where the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas do not produce enough beta cells for insulin production. This results in improper insulin production in the body. As insulin is needed to digest the blood glucose released by the digestion of food, the lack of insulin results in a great amount of blood glucose being left in the blood stream rather than being stored in the body for future use.
There are three main types of diabetes
1. Gestational Diabetes
2. Adult Onset Diabetes
3. Juvenile Diabetes
Gestational Diabetes is what affects pregnant women. They may have a family history of diabetes or maybe a hormonal imbalance during their pregnancy gives them high blood sugar content during the time that they are carrying the baby. This is a condition which usually disappears after the birth of the child. Although these ladies are at a higher risk of developing adult onset diabetes within the next decade.
Adult Onset Diabetes is also called Type 2 diabetes. In this case the disease has developed in the body due to poor life style choices.These would include eating too much sugar rich food like bakery products and getting little or no exercise. The body gets taxed and can no longer handle the onslaught of blood glucose as the pancreas do not produce adequate insulin to digest it.
Juvenile Diabetes is also known as Type 1 Diabetes. In this case the person is born with a faulty pancreas. There is limited or no production of insulin in the body. This means that the person must take insulin from an external source in either a tablet or an injection form. If they do not take the insulin dose in time the excessive blood glucose can cause the body severe harm. This may even be fatal in some cases.
A Child with Diabetes
While most adults are used to hearing about some one or the other developing diabetes in their middle age, there are growing concerns over children with type 2 diabetes increasing. This is a problem that can be solved with proper diet and exercise by parental control and monitoring.
However what can not be solved is Juvenile Diabetes. This is a form of the disease with has no cure. You can only keep the symptoms under control by continuous monitoring of the blood glucose level and insulin doses. This means that a child would have to take the insulin tablets or injections every day under adult supervision.
Naturally it can be quite a task to get such children to understand why they have to get injections and blood tests on such a regular basis, especially when they feel that they is nothing wrong with them. This is where parental support becomes invaluable.
Dealing with Juvenile Diabetes
1. Educate the Parent
The natural panic which hits a parent who learns that his child has diabetes is best tackled by educating the parent about the disease. You need to know what is happening to your child before you can begin to help him or her overcome it. So it is vital that a parent learns just what the child is going through.
2. Educate the Child
No matter how young the child is it is important to explain to the child that they have a problem. It may be explained to the child in terms that would be easy to understand. However it is important to stress that they are not like normal children and that they need to be monitored closely. Don't cause the child to worry, but educate them about the disease as best as you can before you ask them to cooperate to regular blood tests and insulin shots.
3. Build a Support System
It is an emotionally and physically draining task to care for a sick child. It helps to have friends and family support you. So make sure that you build a good support system to back you up. It would also do the diabetic child good to meet other children who are grappling with the disease and share their experiences. It is therapeutic in the long run as they will also make friends with people who know exactly what they are going through.
4. Monitor at all times
The body of a child is growing and changing constantly. That is why the blood sugar contents need to be monitored with great diligence in a child. Besides the blood glucose, you will also need to monitor proper eating habits and exercise habits for the child.