Diabetes in Children and Teenagers - Be Well Hospitals

Diabetes (medically known as diabetes mellitus) is a chronic and possibly fatal disease in which the body loses its capacity to generate insulin or use insulin efficiently. People with type 1 diabetes, as well as certain people with type 2 diabetes, must inject insulin many times each day. Many people with type 2 diabetes can control their disease by eating healthily, exercising, taking medication, and checking their blood glucose levels on a regular basis.

Diagnosis of diabetes in children and adolescents:

Until recently, almost all diabetic children and teens were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Younger people are now being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as a result of

  • Strong family histories
  • Rising obesity rates
  • Being overweight.

Children and teens who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes may struggle with their own reactions to their illness as well as the emotions of others, and they may be worried about returning to school. After diabetes is diagnosed, children and families will need time to adjust.

Helping children establish a routine to manage their diabetes:

Parents and loved ones will need to assist children with diabetes in developing a diabetes management regimen. This involves things like

  • Blood glucose monitoring
  • Insulin injections
  • Learning how to calculate carbs.
  • Seeing diabetic health experts on a frequent basis to deal with changing blood glucose levels.
  • As your kid progresses through life stages, new problems may occur.

Children's reactions to a diabetes diagnosis:

A kid or adolescent who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes will experience a wide range of emotions and reactions. Shock, denial, anger, grief, anxiety, and guilt are common reactions among children and their parents. With time and the right support, these sentiments generally fade away. Anxiety over the illness is a common reaction to a diabetes diagnosis. Fear of needles and repeated injections is a common phobia. An overwhelming sense of being swamped by injections and other everyday activities.

  • Unhappy with changing blood glucose levels.
  • Feeling 'different.'
  • Fear of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose - possible symptoms include dizziness, sleepiness, and loss of consciousness) in public.
  • Embarrassment over their diabetes and the potential negative reactions of their friends.
  • Difficulty coping with family members' emotional reactions.
  • The period immediately following a diabetes diagnosis can be difficult. During this period, emotional support from friends, family, and a diabetic healthcare team may be quite beneficial and can boost how children or teens manage their diabetes.

Children and adolescents Managing Diabetes

It can be difficult to live with and manage diabetes on a daily basis. Children are frequently worried about

  • They believe they are a burden on their family.
  • Being handled differently or tenderly, as though they were 'ill.'
  • Coping with continuous parental queries about their food consumption, mood, and whether or not they have taken their insulin.
  • Receiving special attention from parents or others, which may generate envy among siblings

It's common for children and teenagers to feel sad, angry, or frustrated with their diabetes at times. After all, diabetes is a lifelong illness, therefore the activities and abilities required to control it must be maintained throughout one's life.

If your kid is having difficulty managing their diabetes because they are sad, nervous, or overwhelmed, it is critical that you get support from your diabetic healthcare team. A social worker or psychologist might be of assistance. In rare situations, the services of a psychiatrist may be required.

Children with diabetes in school

Many parents and caregivers are naturally anxious when their diabetic kid begins or returns to school. Schools, on the other hand, are responsible for your child's safety and will ensure that teachers are aware of diabetes and any possible hazards. Parents must ensure that the school has the knowledge and tools necessary to assist their child's diabetes control during the school day. The following are some key factors to remember concerning diabetes control at school

  • A diabetic action plan and management plan prepared by your child's diabetes educator must be presented to the school. The plans must explicitly explain your child's diabetes control during the school day.
  • Meet with your child's school to review their diabetes care needs as well as their diabetes action and management plan.

Glucose monitoring should be managed as part of the plan

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose – early symptoms include shaking or trembling, sweating, pallor, hunger, light-headedness, headache, dizziness, pins, and needles around the mouth, and mood change).
  • Hyperglycemia (excessive thirst, frequent and copious urine, fatigue, and impaired vision) is a condition characterized by high blood glucose levels.
  • Exercise
  • Dietary requirements
  • Administration of insulin
  • Contact information in case of an emergency

A separate diabetic camp management plan will be required if the kid is attending school camp. Parents or caregivers should ask their child's treating team for this plan well in advance.

Consider utilizing a 'communication book' for younger children to tell their teacher of any relevant diabetes-related problems. The book can also be used by the instructor to record any diabetes-related concerns or events. Secondary pupils can use email to communicate. Tell your child's physical education (PE) instructor about his or her diabetes. Physical exercise can cause blood glucose levels to decrease, therefore it's critical for the instructor to recognize and manage hypoglycemia.

Helping older children move to diabetes self-management

Parents of diabetic children are often quite active in their child's diabetes treatment. As children get older, it is critical that they have the skills and confidence necessary to manage their diabetes on their own. Here are some ideas to help your child transition to diabetes self-management

  • To promote independence and confidence, encourage your children to take an active role in their diabetes management from the outset.
  • Your youngster may need to choose an injection site or turn on their glucometer.
  • Ascertain if the degree of participation is appropriate for their age.
  • The diabetes educator for your kid can provide guidance on age-appropriate duties.
  • Encourage people to attend diabetes camps. In a fun, friendly, and relaxed setting, your kid will meet other children with diabetes and learn about diabetes care.
  • Your kid may learn to incorporate diabetes care into their daily lives and build life skills and confidence with your help and direction.