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How do we care for and manage children & youth with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at home?

0 3 years ago

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) commonly occurs during childhood and therefore ends up being the most common form of diabetes that children and youth suffer from. The reduced life quality and high risks of health complications associated with T1D make it an uphill struggle for the young diabetics. A child with T1D must take insulin shots or use an insulin pump every day to stay well. Insulin must be taken every day for the rest of the life of a child with diabetes.

So, what best efforts can the families of young T1D patients put in for a healthy, quality life?

We thought these recommendations from the ADA are salient.

1. Individualized care for the young T1D patient that is culturally sensitive and developmentally appropriate

The family of the child or teen with T1D must be actively involved with the implementation of the medical regimen strategized by the healthcare providers. Diabetes self-management education of the young diabetic and their family must be dynamic enough to meet the needs of the patient growing up with this complex disease. The young patient must develop independent self-care skills to manage their T1D as they grow and develop with the condition.

2. Nutrition

A one-size-fits-all diet cannot work for all young diabetics with T1D. Dietary management should be individualized: family habits, food preferences, religious or cultural needs, schedules, physical activity, and the patient’s and family’s abilities in numeracy, literacy, and self-management should be considered. What helps across all nutrition cultures is monitoring carbohydrate intake. A low carb diet helps the young T1D diabetic with better glycaemic control.

3. Physical activity and exercise

Exercise is key to pediatric type 1 diabetes care.

Obesity is a huge risk factor in the development of diabetes. It is associated with higher frequency of cardiovascular risk factors, and it disproportionately affects racial/ethnic minorities in the U.S. Healthy diet and exercise play an important role in T1D care. However, exercise can also cause both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia in diabetics. It therefore becomes very important for the young diabetics and their families to self-educate on how to use exercise correctly as part of the medical regimen.

#Type1Diabetes #Diabetes_Children

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

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