Table of Contents
- 1 Diabetes Type 1 – A Brief Overview on the Condition
- 2 Exercises for Type 1 Diabetes: What Can They Do?
- 3 Insulin Therapy And How To Control Type 1 Diabetes
- 4 Tips for Parents of Children with Type 1 Diabetes
Diabetes Type 1 – A Brief Overview on the Condition
Diabetes is a common health problem and affects many people of all ages. Recent news reports in fact, show that even children below the age of 14 years are developing type 1 diabetes. Annually, this rise is at the rate of around 4%, leaving healthcare experts confused about the exact cause behind this increasing problem.
Previously, referred to as juvenile diabetes, Diabetes Type 1 is usually diagnosed in young children and teenagers. When impacted by it, the human body doesn’t generate insulin, which is an important hormone for making certain the sugar we take in is transformed into energy. This results in various issues for those who have this condition. Thankfully, it has become much easier to deal with Diabetes Type 1 than it was years back, providing its patients with a fair opportunity at leading a full life without any setbacks.
When your body stops making insulin, glucose piles up in the bloodstream resulting in this health disease. Insulin is the hormone released by your pancreas which is responsible for breaking down glucose to provide you with energy.
Diabetes has no permanent cure and is a lifelong condition, but can be treated and controlled effectively with the help of medication and a treatment plan.
Types of Diabetes:
There are two types of diabetes – type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is also known as early-onset diabetes since it affects children and young people. It is insulin dependent, which means it can be treated by administering insulin injections. In this type of diabetes, the body is completely incapable of producing insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is not dependant on insulin and generally affects people who have reached the age of 40 years. It is a more common type of diabetes compared to type 1 and occurs when your body is unable to produce sufficient insulin to break down glucose. It is also seen in younger, obese and overweight people.
The third type of diabetes – gestational diabetes, affects pregnant women. This type of diabetes goes away after delivery but makes the woman susceptible to getting affected with type 2 diabetes later in her life.
Causes of Diabetes Type 1:
Since this article caters to just type 1 diabetes, we will only focus on the possible causes behind the same. Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body fails to produce insulin, as a result of which glucose is not carried on to your cells for it to be converted into energy. Insulin is a hormone released by special pancreatic cells which pushes glucose out of your bloodstream into the cells. The cells break down glucose, thus releasing energy required for proper functioning of your body.
In type 1 diabetes, this whole process is absent which is why glucose goes on piling up in the bloodstream. Since your body is in need of energy, it obtains that by breaking down bodily muscles and essential fat. This results in a child thinning down and if left untreated, this may lead to many and severe health complications.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes:
There are some symptoms which are common for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes; like feeling thirsty more often; an increase in the urge to urinate and feeling tired a lot. In type 1 diabetes, a person loses weight very rapidly because when insulin is absent the body burns muscles and fat to obtain energy.
It has been noted that symptoms of type 1 diabetes occur rapidly in comparison to Type 2 diabetes. Specific symptoms of this type of diabetes include itchiness around the genitals, muscular cramps, skin infections and blurred vision. Dangerous levels of type 1 diabetes may cause vomiting or heavy and deep breathing. If a person reaches this stage, she/he should be immediately hospitalised.
Three basic targets of any treatment for diabetes are to lower your blood glucose levels, to prevent the risk of any further complications and also to reduce other risk factors. Since type 1 diabetes is insulin-dependent, administering insulin through injections and pumps becomes necessary to prevent any further outbreak.
The insulin injected should also be matched with the food you intake, as any mismatch can lead to hypoglycaemia. Too much insulin reduces your blood glucose level to abnormal levels, which is another dangerous side effect. A proper diet and a healthy lifestyle where regular physical exercise is a major part should be maintained along with prescription treatments for diabetes.
Exercises for Type 1 Diabetes: What Can They Do?
Beyond any question, exercise has been hailed as one of the effective solutions to the lifetime management of diabetes. Do you believe that? If you do not, you have to now. This article highlights the invaluable benefits of regular exercise on diabetes type 1 patients, the basic exercise guidelines, the ideal time for diabetes type 1 sufferers to exercise, and the appropriate exercise suggestions. If you or your loved one happens to be categorized as a type 1 diabetic, the answers to your lifelong concerns may be uncovered here.
Effects of Exercise on Type 1 Diabetes
Exercise endows diabetics a multitude of positive effects: it is beneficial in lowering blood sugar levels, in boosting insulin sensitivity, and in strengthening the heart muscles. Exercise is an undeniably crucial part of type 1 (juvenile/hybrid) diabetes treatment. It is true that keeping yourself fit and active all your life has many significant benefits, yet for diabetics, exercise basically helps them inhibit the long-term complications such disease may bring.
As soon as you find out that your child has type 1 diabetes, ensuring he or she gets enough exercise not only helps in properly managing his or her diabetes but also inculcates the value of healthy habits at an early age.
Diabetes Type 1 Exercise Guidelines
Exercise, although an important prerequisite to the management of diabetes, still needs to be done with utmost precaution. It is basically important for type 1 diabetics to schedule exercise sessions after meals, NOT before. Engaging in risky sports or strenuous exercises without closely checking one’s blood glucose level could be very catastrophic. In addition, it is best to closely monitor glucose, to hydrate, and to increase caloric intake for up to 24 hours after exercising.
Best Times To Exercise
Like any other successful regimen, picking the perfect time to exercise is very essential. Morning is the usually the best time for exercise for type 1 diabetics, specifically before the initial dose of insulin.
In any case the blood sugar level goes up to more than 250 before exercise, it is much preferred to wait until the figures decrease; otherwise, exercise can be supplemented without any worry.
Recommended Exercises for Diabetes Type 1
These are the kinds of exercises recommended for type 1 diabetics: aerobic, strength training, and flexibility work. Each has its own respective purpose; it is up to you to decide which one is the most suitable.
General Rule Of Thumb
Making a commitment to exercise should be among a person’s top priorities. Considering the fact that your long-term health depends on it, you have to oblige yourself to keep being active, no matter how tough it is to find time for such.
Insulin Therapy And How To Control Type 1 Diabetes
Living with diabetes can be uncomfortable and stressful. One of the most important things to remember when managing your illness is that you must educate yourself as much as possible, so you can live better with diabetes. Tips like those laid out here can help you to do just that.
When your child receives a diabetes diagnosis, life can feel devastating. Stay positive though, you can get through this! Proper treatments allow your child to live a normal life. The oldest known diabetic is in his nineties, and he was obviously born and living before modern medicine got to where it is. There is an abundance of protein-rich foods such as tofu, eggs, dairy products and beans. You will enjoy eating more if you diversify things.
Diabetes has increasingly become more prevalent in our society. This helps to reduce any shame or stress that accompanies the diagnosis, but it really just makes your life much easier.
If you have bouts of hypoglycaemia, always carry sugary foods such as gum with you to consume when needed. Hypoglycaemia attacks can happen at any time, so you need to be prepared for that. Skipping breakfast is a bad idea that makes attacks more likely, because your body will be especially desperate for sugar. Make your life easier and more organized by doing everything the same way every time. By having your supplies in the same location, and by eating and checking your levels at the same time, you can function like clockwork and worry less about serious complications.
Using an online pharmacy may be more cost effective than physically going to the pharmacy in person. You can usually set up a regular delivery schedule, so that you can’t forget to order it.
Gestational diabetes is becoming much more common nowadays, so be sure to speak with your doctor about your concerns and look into getting tested. If you don’t act proactively, you are putting your health, as well as the health of your child, at risk. A physician can offer guidance about dietary adjustments; he or she may also choose to prescribe medications to control your condition.
To make a salad even healthier, add walnuts! They are a source of monounsaturated fats. These increase your cells’ receptivity to insulin, thus controlling your diabetes.
You have to carefully choose the food you eat if you suffer from diabetes. The food you eat will change your blood sugar level almost immediately after you eat, so you need to monitor and log what you are eating. Large meals require large insulin injections but smaller meals require smaller insulin injections. If you monitor your meals and are careful with your diet, you can manage your blood glucose levels well.
If you are suffering diabetes, it’s a good idea to enjoy several small meals throughout the day, instead of three substantial ones. Eating smaller, healthy meals frequently during the day helps maintain the stability of your blood sugar levels. If you eat more frequently, it will decrease your risk of binge eating, and you feel more satisfied.
This increases the chances for your child to get diabetes later in life. Don’t let your child suffer the brunt of your bad choices. Be responsible while you are pregnant. You can decrease the chance of developing diabetes by converting to a diet that is high in fibre. Whole grains are low-GI foods, which reduces your risk of diabetes, while white foods are generally high-GI, which increases your risk.
Rather than totally ditching the foods that you love, try altering them in healthy ways. This loss of foods you enjoy causes people difficulty in adapting to a diabetic diet. They believe that they must eliminate their favourite foods from their diet. Others will ignore the diet restrictions and still consume their favourite foods.
The best option is to take a good look at your favourite foods and figure out how to make adjustments. In a lot of cases, substituting healthy ingredients for diabetes-unfriendly ones can make a great dish healthier, without compromising its flavour. Make a list of high glycaemia index foods and learn to identify potential problem foods and ingredients. Breads, desserts, pastas, cereal, and even juices are products that are high in the glycaemia index.
The Prevention of Type 1 Diabetes
Though experts have pointed out the people who can certainly get type 1 diabetes in five to ten years have failed to find out the ways to keep the disease at bay.
There are no known ways to prevent type 1 diabetes, but you can always prevent yourself from the complications like blindness and kidney failure that may arise from it. You can definitely delay the disease by helping the damaged cells to recover and prevent any further damage. You need to have a medical check up regularly to detect the signs of complications.
Early treatment can stop or slow down the damage. If you have any other health problem like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, treat them at the correct time.
The cause of type 1 diabetes is not yet known some think that it is genetic but it is found that merely genes cannot determine whether you will be a type 1 diabetic.
It’s a myth that eating a lot of sugar causes type 1 diabetes, or that it is contagious. There is no reality in these thoughts. Neither too much sugar nor sitting close to a diabetic can be the cause of diabetes.
It can’t be prevented but some research supports that some factors like breastfeeding and avoidance of solid foods at early stages may have a role in reducing the risk of type 1 diabetes.
There is no possible way to prevent it.
One of the theory mentions that insufficiency of vitamin D and type 1 diabetes have a direct relationship. The immune system and the beta cells in the pancreas of a diabetic contain receptors for the vitamin. The scientists therefore got the idea to give vitamin D as a measure to prevent the onset of this autoimmune disorder.
Researchers are still in the process of knowing whether high doses of vitamin D given to babies are safe.
Researchers in Australia are in process of creating a nasal spray vaccine that could prevent type 1 diabetes. The vaccine stimulates and desensitizes the immune system to insulin.
Researchers are on their way to find out the environmental factors that trigger type 1 diabetes. They found that type 1 diabetes cases are mostly diagnosed in winter season than in summer and it’s mostly related to cold weather.
Type 1 diabetes develops when the body’s immune system destroys the beta cells in the ‘islets’ of the pancreas that produce insulin.
When the immune system treats insulin-producing cells as foreign and not-self; just as it was a virus or bacteria, it is known as an auto-immune response.
It can take several years to develop Type 1 diabetes.
A combination of genetic and environmental factors is likely to be involved in the development of the disease, although the exact causes are unclear. Research is still on to detect the causes of Type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes may be initiated by an environmental insult (a trigger from the environment such as a virus, diet, stress) in people who have a genetic susceptibility (have genes which predispose them to risk of the disease). Both the insult and the genes would have to be present to develop Type 1 diabetes.
When around 75% of the insulin-producing beta-cells have been destroyed by their own immune system, patients will develop hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar).
People with Type 1 diabetes produce very little or no insulin. Without insulin, blood sugar levels rise to dangerously high levels. Persistent high blood glucose levels can affect your long-term health.
Type 1 diabetes has no cure and cannot be prevented but it can be managed.
Insulin is a hormone that is made in the pancreas. Within the pancreas, there are specific areas called the islets of Langerhans. Beta cells are the predominant cell type within the islets of Langerhans. Beta cells produce and release insulin.
Patients with Type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin because the patient’s immune system has destroyed their beta cells. This is in contrast to Type 2 diabetes, where beta cells lose function gradually over time.
The surface of our cells has small channels that allow entry of glucose into the cell. These channels are not permanently open in muscle and fat cells, and require a trigger to open them. Insulin is this trigger. In healthy cells, when insulin binds to the insulin receptor, the glucose channels open and glucose moves from the bloodstream into the cell. When glucose enters the cell, the glucose is converted into useable energy for the cell.
Insulin also regulates the normal production of glucose (and ketones) by the liver. If there is a lack of insulin, there will be overproduction of glucose. If insulin deficiency is severe there will also be excessive production of ketones.
If there is no insulin to channel the glucose into cells, the glucose remains in the blood. High blood glucose levels will result in long-term health complications. You cannot prevent Type 1 diabetes.
Tips for Parents of Children with Type 1 Diabetes
A child and his parent’s lives would drastically change if he is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. As a parent, you and your spouse would have the greater responsibility of learning about your child’s disease as well as keeping track of everything that has an effect to the child’s diabetes.
In spite of these, life must go on and a large part of a parent’s responsibility is to give the child with all the support he needs by teaching him and letting him understand his condition and what needs to be done so he can avoid complications of diabetes. In relation to that, this article would discuss important information that you need to know regarding diabetes type 1 in children.
What Type of Insulin is He Being Injected With
Your child with type 2 diabetes needs to have a dose of insulin injected to him several times the entire day, every day. This is to help his body get the right amount of insulin it needs, especially that his pancreas is no longer producing enough amounts of that hormone.
His doctor may prescribe a certain type or any combination of the type of insulin:
Intermediate insulin and
Rapid-acting insulin with a fixed dose
A child must have his meal when the fixed dose of the types of insulin injected in his body are already active or at its peak. This is usually 15 minutes after injection. As a parent, you must make sure that the meals are eaten almost at the same time every day and his meals would consistently contain the same proportion of proteins, fats and carbs compared to the meal given a day before.
Long-acting insulin with rapid-acting insulin
The doctor would not just prescribe long-acting insulin for your child but also rapid-acting insulin. This is important in controlling your child’s blood sugar level during his meal time. The amount of each type of the rapid-acting type would depend on the amount of carbohydrates in the meal.
Insulin Pumps: Similar to the prescribed long-acting insulin mentioned above, your child would also have a certain amount of rapid-acting type of insulin before he eats his meal. Again, this should be based on the carbohydrates content in the food that he would be eating.
Great Importance of Blood Sugar Testing
Tell your child that you need to check on the level of his blood sugar prior to eating his meals and before he goes to sleep. This is for you to know if the level of sugar in his bloodstream is what your doctor tells you as the right level. Also, a list of recommended blood sugar levels has been given by the National Diabetes Education Program.
All age groups would each have a recommended blood sugar level. However, that level may be adjusted depending on your child’s experiences with having a low level of blood sugar or hypoglycaemia. You will notice that these levels are higher than what adults’ recommended blood sugar levels are. This is because children, especially those who belong to the younger age group, are more susceptible to hypoglycaemia.
Always record the levels of your child’s blood sugar with the corresponding meal he has eaten, the time the test is taken and all the physical activities he has engaged into, in a journal. Show and let your child understand all the items listed in that journal.
Dealing with Hypoglycaemia
Be open-minded and let your child know that there would be times that you and he would have to bravely deal with the symptoms that may occur with his blood sugar drops below the recommended level and that he needs to tell you right away about the symptoms that he is feeling.
Here are the symptoms:
- Unconsciousness or convulsions
- Double Vision
- Weakness, trembling or shaking
- No coordination
- Confusion or drowsiness
There would be instances where your child would not be able to figure what exactly is going on with his body. But just the same, if he feels something he doesn’t understand or know, encourage him to tell you about it so you can do a blood sugar level test. If it falls below 70, then he has hypoglycaemia.
This means that he needs to eat or drink something to raise it to the normal level which is 80 mg/dL. Typically, his dietician would recommend a certain amount of sugar concentrate which is approximately 10 to 15 grams of sugar.
Some sources of sugar concentrate are:
- Honey- 1 or 2 tablespoons
- Glucose Gel or Glucose Tablet- 2 doses or 2 tablets
- Jelly Beans- 7 to 10 pieces
- Cake Decorator’s Gel- a small tube
- Grape Juice or Orange Juice- half a cup. Juice in boxes is fine.
- Regular Soda- half of a can’s contents
- Candy -2 to 4 pieces
It is recommended that you always keep a handy bag with portions of the solid sugar sources mentioned. These sugar sources must contain 15 grams of sugar each.
There would also be times that your child would not be able to eat or drink. In cases like this, you need to inject him with glucagon prescribed by his doctor. A glucagon is a hormone that helps the liver produce sugar that is then released in the bloodstream. After injecting the glucagon, it would only take 30 minutes for it to take effect.
You can ask your doctor to prescribe your child two of the glucagon kits so that if hypoglycaemia suddenly attacks, you have a kit ready. If you are not sure how to use it, there are practice kits that can be provided by your doctor and pharmacist. Doing this would help you to stay calm and be comfortable injecting glucagon into your child if needed.
Of course, you need to call 911 or take your child to the hospital immediately if he becomes unconscious.
Children are picky when it comes to eating and exposing him into a meal plan that would usually include the ones that he doesn’t eat would be very challenging. Give some time explaining as to why you need to control what he eats and you can ask his dietician for alternatives for his favourite foods. Your dietician would help you come up with a meal plan that would help control his blood sugar level and at the same time would provide for his growing up needs.
While there are many online resources that you can refer to, it is better to seek help directly from specialists. Only these people would know the best nutrition for your child.
Benefits of Exercise
Lastly, let your child know how exercise or a physical activity would help lower his blood sugar level. Give him encouragement and a lot of support if he wants to engage into moderate sports or any hobby that would require physical activity. You must take note that a physical activity may suddenly trigger hypoglycaemia. If this happens, he needs to time out from the activity first.
Check his blood sugar level using a glucometer and have him eat or drink his sugar sources. Wait for at least half-an-hour and do another test. If his blood sugar level is at least 80 mg/ dL, he may go back to his activity.
It is also your responsibility to let his coach, team manager or teacher know his condition and what needs to be done when your child experiences hypoglycaemic symptoms while he is under their supervision.