Type 1 Diabetes

Information for parents and children

Managing the disease

Diabetes is not a curable disease, so it is very important to manage. If diabetes is not managed it can lead to death. When you find out you have diabetes your doctor will tell you that you need to manage your insulin, exercise, and diet. Without the proper diet and exercise over time you will develop problems with your eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves, and gum/teeth. Also some people have lost some of their toes. By managing your diabetes you will be able to live as normal as possible. If you avoiding taking care of yourself, you will have serious outcomes. Have your family get involved, and be healthy with you.

Symptoms of high and low blood sugars

High blood sugars, also known as hyperglycemia, can be a scary thing. High blood sugars can happen for various reasons, including: not taking your insulin when your supposed to, or not taking the right amount. Eating too much and not taking enough insulin to cover all the food you ate. Also being sick can raise blood sugar levels or not getting enough exercise. Symptoms of high blood sugars can be, peeing a lot, drinking a lot, losing weight and being tired. Sometimes high blood sugar levels don't even cause these symptoms and you can have high blood sugar without knowing it that's why it's important to check your blood sugar often. Usually to treat high blood sugars you will need to take more insulin or get exercise more frequently. Having high blood sugar levels happens to everyone with diabetes from time to time but if it happens a lot you should consult your doctor about how to get them back in normal range.

Low blood sugars need immediate attention or can be life threatening. Symptoms of mild low blood sugar levels are: grouchiness, shakiness, sweating, fast heart rate, pale skin, dizziness, yawning. For this the blood sugar will need to be treated with a quick acting sugar or something with about 15 grams of carbohydrates. Symptoms of moderate low blood sugars are: confusion, slurred speech, poor coordination, and inability to cooperate. To treat this instant glucose should be given or cake frosting gel. If no response within 15 minutes to either of these then the glucagon should be administered. Symptoms of severe low blood sugars are, unconsciousness, and convulsions. If this happens the glucagon should be administered immediately and 911 should be called.

Low blood sugars sometimes happen when meals are skipped or meals or delayed also if the person doesn't eat as much carbohydrates for as much insulin they took. Also if you take too much insulin, take the wrong type or if you take the insulin at the wrong time. It can also happen if you exercise too much without eating a snack or adjusting the dosage of insulin.

Ideas for how to manage the disease outside of the home

Having diabetes can make young children feel different from other kids at school or around other peers. Joining a support group in your area where your child can meet other children with the disease so they don't feel alone can help your child deal emotionally with the disease. If your child is young and in school it is probably a good idea to recommend the teacher reading a book or having the class watch a video on diabetes so the other students understand more about what diabetes is. If the other children in the class know what the disease is they are less likely to make the child with diabetes feel so different. It is also important to sit down with your child's teacher, bus driver etc. to discuss the symptoms of low blood sugars, making sure they understand that your child may need to have additional snacks and access to water and the bathroom because of your child's diabetes. Also discussing how diabetes can affect school performance and making sure your child has a place to check their blood sugar and give themselves insulin.

The same type of thing would apply if your child was going to a birthday party and just even going over to a friends house to play. It is important that the parents or adults around know what diabetes is and to recognize signs of symptoms of a problem especially if they are staying over night. Making your children's friends aware of the disease, depending on age, is also a good idea.

Additional resources

If you go to the American Diabetes Association(,http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/?loc=GlobalNavIMC) You can type in your state or zip code to find places close to you that help support the diabetes cause. Some hospitals offer educational classes on diabetes. Kishwaukee Hospital is the closet one to us. You and your family are welcome to come to them and share your experiences. There are also online classes you can take in order to learn about diabetes.