How does Diabetes affect Children?

A child diagnosed with diabetes needs the family to learn how to manage the condition on a daily basis, in order to assist the child in managing the disease. Obesity rates in children are rising and Type2 diabetes, a disease primarily seen in adults over age 45, is becoming a harsh reality for young people. Diabetic children, their respective families, care givers and school personnel, face exceptional challenges when it comes to dealing with diabetes. Awareness about type 1 and type 2 diabetes in young people goes a long way in helping them manage the disease and ensure health and well-being.

Diabetes in children- a risk at birth and beyond
Until a few decades ago, children below the age of five were not considered at risk for developing diabetes. However, research and case studies reveal that Type1 diabetes can even occur in babies only a few months old and Type2 diabetes is just as likely to occur in children under five.

Symptoms of diabetes in children
The symptoms of diabetes in children under five are the same as in adults, with complaints ranging from excessive urination and thirst to sudden, uncontrollable hunger pangs. Symptoms may be apparent in a few days or a week, with demands ranging from a child’s diaper needing frequent change, bedwetting or extra feeding.

Diabetes in children: family support and understanding of utmost importance
Many emotions may come to the fore when a family discovers a child is diabetic. Reactions may range from feelings of anger, worry, helplessness, guilt, anxiety and self-doubts. Many parents and guardians wonder if they will be able to cope with the demands of diabetes in children, on a daily basis. The situation may require families with a young child diagnosed with diabetes to stretch the parenting role across maximum family members, to share out the demands care giving may require.

Care giving recommendations for diabetes in children
The most important aspect of taking care of a diabetic child is to ensure that the child partakes balanced meals at proper times. Equally important is monitoring regularized blood tests and intake of insulin injections. This is to ensure that the blood glucose of the diabetic child does not fall to a level at which hypoglycemia can occur. Taking the child for regular diabetes visits and counseling with diabetes health professionals on a regular basis, to discuss the child’s growth, development and diabetes control is the family’s responsibility. All caregivers who tend to a child with diabetes need adequate information about the case. Vital information imparted to them by the family includes explaining what diabetes means, the child’s eating and drinking requirements, the need and time of treatments and blood glucose tests, symptoms of hyper or hypo glycemia and how to treat the episode, if it occurs. Contact details of parents and the child’s physician need to be available with caregivers to ensure all unforeseen circumstances are dealt with, with the least discomfort to the diabetic child.