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Diabetes And Your Child: What You Should Know

by Stephen Silva

As a parent, you want to be sure that you are always taking care of your child's health and well-being. And while you try to do just that, sometimes they develop a health condition that you never expected, like diabetes. If your child has been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be in shock and not understand what you can do to help them. Get to know more about diabetes and children so that you can be better prepared to help them understand and treat their condition.

The Different Types of Diabetes In Children

Not too long ago, the two different types of diabetes (now referred to as type 1 and type 2) could be differentiated as juvenile and adult-onset diabetes respectively. However, times have changed and more and more children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as well. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes cause a person to have high blood glucose levels, but the two types differ in how this occurs and is treated.

Most children who turn out to have diabetes are diagnosed with type 1. Type 1 diabetes is a condition that is not preventable and may have genetic components. In this type of diabetes, the pancreas is not able to produce a hormone known as insulin that help to regulate blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, may be preventable or reversible in some cases. It differs from type 1 diabetes in that the pancreas of a type 2 diabetic still produces insulin. However, the body cannot or does not respond to the presence of insulin and their blood sugar still remains high and unregulated. Oftentimes, type 2 diabetes develops in children due to obesity or being overweight (along with other genetic factors). As such, it is a preventable condition in that maintaining a healthy weight may keep the condition from developing.

What Can You Do To Help Your Child With Diabetes

Luckily, with the right pediatrics care and education for you and your child, diabetes is a condition that can be managed. If your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, insulin injections will become a routine part of their lives. Alternatively, they can wear an insulin pump that will provide a continuous flow of insulin into your child's body through a catheter inserted under the skin. The insulin pump is a good option for a child who is busy with school and activities who may forget to take their insulin injections otherwise. It is convenient and a small device to use.

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, does not usually include insulin injections (though sometimes it may, depending on your child's specific circumstances). Generally, type 2 diabetics will take medications that are designed to help the body to absorb insulin better to regulate blood sugar levels.

Both types of diabetes require your child to maintain a very healthy and balanced diet. Processed sugars and foods are highly problematic for children with diabetes because of the high concentration of sugars, even in foods that are not sweet. This can be the most difficult part of diabetes management for children as they may want to eat foods that their friends and peers are eating as well. Regular exercise and physical activity can also help the body to better respond to the insulin and other medications as well as manage blood sugar levels.

Now that you know more about diabetes and your child, you can be sure that you are taking the best possible care of your child if they are diagnosed with diabetes.