Around 10 to 15 % of children in America today are diabetic. This is not a death sentence and therefore parents need not panic. However, there is a need for more awareness, more concern and more caution to master the art of management of diabetes and prevent the complications from the same. Diabetes is primarily on account of glucose not being utilized by insulin. This could be on account of two reasons:
1. Lack of adequate production of insulin
2. Reduced sensitivity of insulin by glucose
The former causes juvenile or type 1 diabetes and the latter causes type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus.
The pancreas are glands in the body near the digestive system, specifically the liver which secretes insulin. The beta cells in this gland are responsible for this production. Due to some accident or injury if the beta cells are affected or destroyed, the production of insulin is reduced. Moreover if the body is exposed to cell toxins which interfere in the normal functioning of the beta cells, again the insulin production is affected. It is also seen that there are hereditary factors which increase the chances of developing diabetes, type 1 type. This is also called diabetes insipidus.
- Increased urination: Due to the excess glucose content in the blood, the kidney has to function repeatedly with greater pressure in order to filter off the glucose, though many times some glucose concentration is still seen in the urine. This leads to an increased urge to urinate which may cause bed-wetting in children too.
- Increased thirst: Since more water is being excreted from the body in the event of getting rid of body glucose, the body needs to replenish this by drinking more water. Hence, there is a thirst.
- Increased hunger: Since glucose is not used to provide energy, the body requires more nourishment in form of carbohydrates and nutrients to release energy. This causes an increase in hunger.
- Weight loss: Since body fats and proteins in the storehouse are broken down to liberate energy, there is a reduction in weight.
- Mental stress and lack of memory or/and low body mind coordination: The glucose is not able to reach the cells of the brain and liberate energy. This causes a deficit of energy in these sensitive cells and reduced energy supply results in poor functioning of these cells. However, this can be avoided if proper control and management is done.
- Fatigue: The body is struggling for energy and is continuously working for the same, there is an element of tiredness and this is fatigue. Moreover, on account of low body weight , the fatigue becomes severe.
- Flu like symptoms: At times, immunity is also affected by diabetes as every response of the immune function is dependent on energy supply and demand. The lowering immune response gives rise to flu like symptoms.
What can you do for your child?
1. Stop treating your child as a patient. Diabetes is a condition and not a disease. However if not managed it may lead to complications.
2. Don’t differentiate him from his peers. The capabilities and performance should not be benchmarked or compared to others as this would add to stress for your child.
3. The diet plan should be set in association with a dietician by tracking the number of calories and sugar consumed. Some liberties could be given to the child but in consultation with the dietician.
4. Never describe the condition as an inability or illness of your child and help your child take normal insulin. Motivating your child to take the doses referring it as a supplement, or tonic might help initially. But as the child grows, some facts need to be explained on how the insulin helps to energise the kid and function healthily.
5. Normal physical exercise would improve the metabolism of the body. Hence walking, running and swimming would definitely be beneficial as long as they are not strenuous.
6. You need to be very patient with your child and understand the body changes so that you yourself and hen your kid can adapt to it. Regular clinic visits are mandatory
7. The sugar levels in the child’s blood needs to be monitored regularly. Never describe the levels as good or bad but adapt low or high as adjectives.
8. Learn new recipes of bitter gourd, neem and garlic to reduce the sugar levels naturally.