Life changes for the whole family when a child is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Many parents worry about how diabetes will affect their child’s life. How it may affect their future. How they can continue to live a normal life.
Safety: the primary concern
You may want to ensure that:
- those who accompany your child know exactly what to do in case of an emergency and have the most up-to-date contact information (physician, parents, guardians).
- there is a responsible person who can help your child to check his or her blood sugar level or to help give a bolus (extra insulin) if needed.
The goal of diabetes management
In simple terms the goal is to keep glucose levels under good control, as this can help to ensure a healthy life today and minimise the risk of complications in the future. One way of knowing that a child's glucose level is under good control is to keep their HbA1c in the target range set by their physician.
Ways of managing blood glucose levels
To keep blood glucose levels in the target range and to reduce the risk of complications, accurate doses of insulin need to be delivered to the body. Different therapies can include:
- Conventional Therapy
2 to 3 injections per day of mixed long- and short-acting insulin.
- Multiple Daily Injections (MDI)
Injecting 3 or more times per day with rapid insulin and 1 to 2 times per day with rapid-acting insulin.
- Insulin pump (Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion - CSII)
CSII replaces the need for frequent injections by delivering rapid-acting insulin 24 hours a day. A programmed insulin rate mimics the basal insulin production by the pancreas in people who don't have diabetes and can be better adjusted to the body's needs. Rapid-acting insulin acts very quickly to help minimise variations in blood glucose levels in response to carbohydrate intake or if needed to lower high blood glucose values.
We always loved to do outdoor activities and sports together. Thanks to the pump we all have reached a new level of freedom and increased peace of mind!
REDUCE HBA1C, REDUCE COMPLICATIONS
HbA1c: an important measure of how effectively diabetes can be managed using a measure of the amount of glucose that has attached itself to each red blood cell over the preceding 2-3 months to assess the level of diabetes control.
The DCCT (Diabetes Control and Complications Trial) study confirmed that lowering HbA1c by just 1% can decrease the risk of developing microvascular complications by up to 40%.* HbA1c should be monitored every 3 months with the goal of keeping it below 7% (53 mmol/L) or at the target set by your physician.*
Normal glucose values vary between 4.0 and 7.8 mmol/L, and you may want to consider trying to achieve these targets in daily life with self-monitoring of blood glucose levels (SMBG) using a personal glucose meter.*
Parents may worry that their child may have a hypoglycaemic event (low blood glucose) during the night while sleeping. Many may check blood glucose values several times during the night to ensure that their child’s blood glucose levels are within their target range.
Small children and toddlers
Young children need small doses of insulin. Many children eat small amounts at frequent intervals throughout the day so may require more frequent insulin injections.
So, what can parents do to help their children better manage their diabetes and to keep their blood glucose levels under control while letting them enjoy their childhood?
- * References are kept on file and are available on request; please contact your local Medtronic representative for copies.