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Proper Guidelines for Caring for Children with Diabetes

Diagnosis of diabetes in children at first may make you panic and overwhelmed. Both parents and children, whatever their age, must learn how to use insulin, pay attention to food intake, and monitor blood sugar levels to stay balanced. In addition, you as a parent must also control symptoms that aim to prevent diabetes complications that may occur. There are some important things you need to know when dealing with diabetes in children. See this article for more information.

Guidelines for managing the symptoms of diabetes in children
1. Monitor your child's blood sugar levels to stay normal
Monitoring blood sugar levels regularly is the main way to manage the symptoms of diabetes in children. This examination will show the child's blood sugar level right away. You have to make sure your child gets regular blood sugar levels. You should indeed have a tool to check blood sugar levels at home to facilitate the examination.

Examination of blood sugar levels can be done through a simple blood test with a small prick at the tip of the finger. This test is generally recommended for diabetic patients. Your child may need to do it four or more times a day, depending on the type of test used. The doctor will also explain the ideal blood sugar levels.

In addition, there is a new way to monitor blood sugar levels, namely by continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). This method may be most effective for people who show symptoms of blood sugar dropping dramatically (hypoglycemia).

CGM is applied to the body using a fine needle just under the skin, which checks blood sugar levels every few minutes. However, CGM is considered not as accurate as regular blood sugar monitoring. So CGM can be an additional tool, but not to replace regular blood sugar monitoring.

2. Learn the types and ways to use insulin
Type 1 diabetes in children is a condition in which the child's pancreas no longer functions to produce the hormone insulin. Therefore, children need insulin replacement. This is why diabetes in children is very dependent on insulin treatment.

Parents should know the dose and type of insulin that your child can use. In addition, parents also need to know how to provide insulin treatment for children.

There are several types of insulin that can be used, including:

  • Fast acting insulin. Insulin therapy such as lispro (Humalog), aspart (NovoLog) and glulisine (Apidra) work very quickly in lowering the body's blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is used 15 minutes before eating. However, the effect does not last long.
  • Short acting insulin. Insulin therapy is like real insulin (Humulin R) which lowers blood sugar levels quickly, but not as fast as insulin. Usually, insulin is given 30-60 minutes before eating.
  • Medium-acting insulin. Therapies such as NPH insulin (Humulin N) start working in about one hour, peak around six hours and last 12 to 24 hours.
  • Long acting insulin. Glargine insulin therapy (Lantus) and detemir (Levemir) can work for a whole day. Therefore this insulin is more widely used at night and only once per day. Usually, long acting insulin will be combined with fast acting insulin and short acting insulin.

Depending on the child's age and needs, your doctor may prescribe a mixture of insulin for use throughout the day and night.

The most common method of administering insulin is by injection (syringe or pen). However, insulin injection with a pen has not been provided for children. The doctor will usually help you tell how to inject insulin for the child. You will also be taught how to store insulin and remove the needle safely. If the child has entered adolescence or adulthood, you can teach him how to inject insulin independently.

Apart from being injected, insulin can also be given through an insulin pump. This pump is a small electronic device the size of a cell phone. This pump is easy to carry, hooked to a belt, or stored in a pants pocket. This pump will deliver insulin into your body which reacts quickly through a small flexible tube (catheter) under the skin of your stomach and stored in its place.

The insulin pump delivers insulin little by little, just like the normal way the pancreas works. By using an insulin pump, you don't need to bother measuring the dose every time you inject insulin.

3. Pay attention to your child's daily food intake
Understanding what and how much food should be given to children with diabetes is very important. However, do not ask children to go on a special diet for diabetic patients. This will make children easily stressed because food choices tend to be just the same and will taste bland for him.

Just like other healthy children, children who have diabetes also still need a lot of nutrients from a varied diet. Children need lots of fruits, vegetables, foods that are high in nutrition, low in fat, and calories within reasonable limits.

Try your whole family to eat the same food as your child. Do not discriminate against the food menu. You and your family may only have to consume less animal products and sweet foods.

Certain types of food, such as foods with high sugar or fat content, should be avoided by children with diabetes as much as possible. High-fat foods can slow down digestion and can cause a spike in blood sugar a few hours after a child eats. You can ask the help of a nutrition specialist doctor to design a daily menu that suits your child's needs without eliminating his favorite foods.

4. Encourage children to exercise regularly
Everyone needs regular exercise, including children with diabetes. Encourage your child to do regular physical activity and make it part of your child's daily routine.

You can invite children to play chasing in the yard, around the complex riding a bicycle, jogging while taking a pet dog for a walk, or swimming can be a fun activity choice for children. You can also enroll your child in a local sports team or dance studio. Even better if you and your family can exercise with children.

However, remember that physical activity can also reduce blood sugar, so that it will affect blood sugar levels up to 12 hours after exercising. If your child starts a new activity, check your child's blood sugar more often than usual until you learn how his body reacts to the activity.

You may need to adjust your child's eating plan or your child's insulin dose to balance the child's body's reaction to increased child activity. Watch for signs of hypoglycemia that can be dangerous

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