Treating type 1 diabetes

The main goals of treating children with type 1 diabetes are:

  • To keep blood glucose level within a target range
  • To maintain balanced physical, mental, emotional and social growth and development.

The key to good diabetes management is a balance between 3 main aspects: food, exercise and insulin. It is just like juggling the three to keep blood glucose levels within a healthy range. In order to maintain the balance, diabetic children must follow a schedule for blood measuring, insulin injection, and meals. Any slight change from a child’s diabetes care plan can cause blood glucose levels to rise or fall.

Type 1 diabetes is treated by insulin injections, a healthy diet and regular physical activities. Insulin cannot be taken in a pill because the acids and digestive juices in the stomach can break down and destroy the insulin if swallowed. Most children with Type 1 diabetes require three to four injections of insulin every day. These injections are vital and must be taken every day as part of the treatment plan.

Treating type 2 diabetes

In many cases, adopting a healthier lifestyle can control type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet is essential to limit and control blood glucose especially in the early stage of the disease’s progression. It is important to keep weight under control especially for children suffering from type 2 diabetes. Currently there are some medicines available for type 2 diabetics but most of them are unsuitable or even dangerous for type 1 diabetics. Get advice from your doctor on how to manage and check blood glucose, and tips on what to expect during the treatment.

Insulin needs

When your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, the missing insulin must be replaced by means of daily injections or through an injection pump. If too much insulin is injected (or if the child has not eaten much) the child may experience hypoglycemic reaction (low blood sugar). Immediate action must be taken as this can be serious problem. This low blood sugar is very common in children with diabetes, therefore parents must be very careful with this. People with type 1 diabetes often struggle to work out the amount of insulin that suits them. There is no magical solution to determine the exact amount needed for injection. Many factors influence the dosage of insulin children need to get to the desired “perfect balance” of glucose and insulin. These factors include food intake, the different absorption rates of different foods, effects of stress, illness and exercise. As children grow, their insulin needs change. Determining how much insulin the body needs to stabilize the amount of glucose is really a best guess and sometimes the guess is inaccurate which leads to high or low blood sugar levels.

Insulin delivery methods

Syringes, insulin pens, and insulin pumps are three different delivery devices to administer insulin to type 1 diabetics whose body can’t produce insulin on its own.

Insulin injections
Insulin pumps

Personal choice

Choosing the way for insulin injection is totally a personal decision for your child, family and doctor. The same method may not be the right choice for everyone.

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