Juvenile diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. The condition typically develops in children and young adults, but it can also occur at any age. To know more about it OnlyMyHealth editorial team talked to Dt Mahima Raniwal, Diabetes Educator at Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research.
She said that when a person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in his 20s, and it becomes chronic, it can also turn into type 1 diabetes. This happens when the pancreas becomes infective and is not able to produce insulin.
Symptoms Of Juvenile Diabetes
According to the expert, the symptoms of juvenile diabetes vary from person to person that may include:
- increased thirst
- frequent urination with a fruity smell and different texture
- fatigue and dizziness
- blurred vision
- unexplained weight loss
In many cases, these symptoms of type 1 diabetes in juveniles do not occur simultaneously, which makes the diagnosis challenging. Sharing her experience, the expert narrated one incident where a kid was presented to a doctor with problems of stomach pain and vomiting. The kid was given treatment based on the symptoms. When the kid has lost the desire to eat, the doctor advised his parents to feed him with liquids. The parents fed the kid with glucose liquids, due to which the sugar level of the child spiked, leading to the formation of ketone bodies. It was when the child was taken to a hospital he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Treatment After Diagnosis
After the kid is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it is managed with insulin therapy, which uses an insulin pen (injections) or an insulin pump. Since insulin pumps are expensive, thus not many people can afford them. As a result, they have to rely on an insulin pen.
Tips For Managing Juvenile Diabetes
Managing juvenile diabetes using injections can be challenging because of the daily pain the children have to suffer due to the piercing of needles. Since there is no option but to bear with this pain, the role of counselling and the right technique becomes very critical at this stage.
Regularly Checking Sugar Levels
Most importantly, regularly monitor blood sugar levels, as this can help you and your healthcare team determine the best treatment plan for you.
Right Technique of Insulin Pen
Using the right technique while using an insulin pen is important. Incorrectly using them will not give results and can lead to poor diabetes management. It should be stored at two to eight degrees Celcius. If the insulin pen is kept in the refrigerator, it should be placed on the door cabinet horizontally and not vertically, and you should bring it to room temperature before administering.
People with type 1 diabetes can also experience hypoglycemia, in which their sugar levels drop. When this happens, the immediate action should be to check the blood sugar levels, and if the sugar levels are below 70 mg/dL, the expert suggests following the 15-15 rule. In this, mix three teaspoons of sugar or glucose (which is equivalent to 15 gm of carbs) in a glass of water and drink it. If this is not readily available, one can take half a glass of juice or a non-diet soft drink. After taking this, wait for 15 minutes and recheck the sugar levels. If the sugar levels are still below 70 mg/dL, repeat the procedure till sugar levels increase above 70 mg/dL.
Taking frequent meals is also important for managing hypoglycemia. The expert suggests following a six to eight meal pattern, implying eating after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This should also follow the 15 gm carbs rule. You can have a cup of milk (100 to 150 ml) post-dinner, as this will prevent nocturnal hypoglycemia, which can be dangerous.
Regular physical activity can help you control your sugar levels better and improve your overall health. Daily moderate-intensity exercises, such as brisk walking, should be done for at least 45 minutes.
Having a controlled and strict diet is more challenging in the case of children who suffer from diabetes than adults. The desire to eat snacks, noodles and other market foods takes over in their case. Although these foods are unhealthy and should not be given to children suffering from diabetes and if they are to be given, add double the amount of vegetables to them. Even in this, stick to items made of whole wheat.
Parents should ensure high fibre content and low carbs content in this kind of meal, and it should only be given if the sugar levels are under control. Whenever this kind of meal is consumed, a corrected dose of insulin should be given to prevent the sugar spike.
As time passes, children can shift to salads and can also take water containing lime or mint. This will help them prevent starvation and maintain a healthy glucose level.
Type 1 diabetes can be overcome with proper management and counselling. Parents should motivate their children and encourage them by giving examples of people who achieved great heights despite having type 1 diabetes. They should tell their children that their pancreas has given up, but you will never.
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