Diabetes affects all kinds of humans; big, small, short or stout. It doesn’t favour and it doesn’t discriminate. But it’s our little ones that get the raw end of the deal. They discover food groups long before they discover a group of friends, and learn how to manage their insulin levels before they learn how to manage their homework. A little bit of their childhood is claimed by Diabetes.
Managing your child’s Diabetes can seem daunting at first, but with time, you’ll learn the ropes of parenting a child with the condition. The majority of children who develop the disease, contract Type 1 Diabetes, otherwise known as Juvenile Diabetes. In this condition, food that is broken down into glucose inside the body, is not adequately absorbed into the cells. Normally, the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that stimulates glucose absorption into cells. Diabetes hampers insulin production, and as a result, sugar gets locked outside the cells, increasing the sugar content in the blood stream. And from thereon, there’s a domino effect. Your child will feel exhausted, because the cells are starved of energy. Your cells will start breaking down fat, to create energy. Blood sugar levels will rise rapidly, causing the blood to become thicker. This will hamper effective blood circulation within the body, because of the consistency of the blood. It’s a chain reaction, and the key to keep your child healthy is to stop the dominos before they’re all down.
The symptoms of Juvenile Diabetes usually include frequent urination, increase in thirst, weight loss, increase in appetite, fatigue and a dry throat. Sometimes, toddlers with the condition develop a persistent diaper rash that doesn’t respond to medicated creams. Diabetes sometimes exhibits more serious symptoms, such as nausea, headaches and breathlessness, when it is left untreated or is undiagnosed. Keep a watch for mild symptoms in your child, so that you can seek medical help as early as possible; the sooner, the better.
If your child is diagnosed with the condition, insulin injections or an insulin pump may need to be administered regularly to regulate glucose levels. When the kidneys detect an unusually high amount of glucose in the blood stream, they resort to flushing it out through urination. Along with sugar, the body also releases water, which could lead to dehydration. Drinking abundant fluids can counter the effect of water release from the body. Give your child natural juices, nimbu paani and lots of water. Diabetes, or not, every child loves their juice.
In the recent past, another type of Diabetes, known as Type 2 Diabetes has come to the fore, with respect to children. This form of Diabetes is typically associated with adults and is triggered by unbalanced diets and unhealthy lifestyles. Unlike Type 1 Diabetes, this type of Diabetes is not necessarily remedied through insulin. Instead, it can be managed through a healthy diet and regular exercise; simple enough measures to implement. A child who is obese and regularly has an unhealthy composition of food groups on their plate, is more likely to fall victim to Type 2 Diabetes. If that sounds familiar, you know you need to take control of your child’s diet right away. Replace those deep-fried snacks with healthy servings of fruit, and bid farewell to those sugary juices, chocolates and sweets.
When you take Diabetes head on, you’re bound to win. By learning to work around it, and managing it on a daily basis, you can ensure that it doesn’t disrupt your child’s life in any way. Manage it right, and the score will always be in your favour.
You – 1, Diabetes – 0. Game over.