This brochure is for the many people who may from time to time be responsible for a child with diabetes. It is designed to provide basic information about insulin-dependent (Type I or juvenile) diabetes so that you can feel comfortable with the child. Whether you are a teacher, a camp counselor, a baby sitter or a relative, you should realize that:
Diabetes is a chronic disease which impairs the body's ability to use food properly. In the insulin-dependent diabetic, the pancreas does not produce insulin, a hormone necessary to burn sugar and convert it to energy for the cells. Because the sugar in the blood can't be used, it builds up in the blood stream even while the body is starved for energy. A person with this type of diabetes must take one or more injections of insulin daily to stay alive.
Insulin, however, is not a cure. It is only a means of controlling the disease.
Diabetes control means keeping the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood as close to normal as possible. The three elements of diabetes control are:
The rule of thumb is: food makes the glucose level rise; exercise and insulin make the glucose level fall.
Diabetes control is a constant balancing act of these three factors. If the balance is thrown off, there is the danger of either of two diabetic emergencies: Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar--insulin reaction or insulin "shock") or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
Confusion and inattention
Lack of coordination
May seem intoxicated
Low blood sugar may be caused by eating too little food or not eating soon enough, too much exercise without eating, or too much insulin.
The child may need coaxing to eat. Within 10 minutes, the child should be feeling better, at which point you can give him or her some additional food and resume normal activities. If the child does not immediately respond, continue to administer sugar.
If the child does not improve in 10-15 minutes, call the parents of the physician. Continue to administer sugar.
Make sure the reaction has been taken care of before the child is left alone or allowed to go home.
Sugar in urine
Dry, hot skin
Blood test showing high sugar level
Fruity or wine-like order on breath
Heavy, labored breathing
Eventual stupor or unconsciousness
If you are unable to test the child's blood sugar and therefore aren't sure whether the child is suffering from high or low blood sugar, try giving some sugar-containing food or drink. This relatively small amount won't hurt. If there is no response in 10-15 minutes, the child needs medical attention.
Consistency is the key to diabetic control. Regular meals, regular exercise, regular insulin. In addition, the child will need to test his or her blood sugar level at various times of the day to determine food or insulin need.
Children with diabetes can eat the same healthy foods as other children. Only concentrated sweets (candy, frosting, syrups, etc.) are generally off-limits. The lunchroom manager should be aware of the child's restrictions, but usually the child is taught to select the right foods.
A child with diabetes may require a mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon snack. It is vital that these and regular meals occur on time so that insulin usage is properly balanced; otherwise hypoglycemia may occur.
Diabetic children can participate in all kinds of active sports. However, since exercise burns up a lot of sugar, the child should have an extra snack of sugary food before planned strenuous exercise to avoid low blood sugar. As a rule, exercise should not be scheduled just before any regular meal.
Self blood glucose monitoring
Several times a day, before meals, a diabetic child may need to test his or her blood sugar. Usually this involves pricking the finger and putting a drop of blood on a chemically sensitive strip and then taking a blood sugar reading on a meter.
Have the parents fill out this form and keep with the child's records.
Name__________________________________________________ Address_______________________________________________ Parents' names________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Father's phone: Home______________________________ Office____________________________ Mother's phone: Home______________________________ Office____________________________ Alternate person to call in emergency_________________ ______________________________________________________ Physician's name, address, phone______________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Symptoms the child exhibits before an insulin reaction ______________________________________________________ Time of day reaction is most likely to occur__________ Most effective treatment______________________________ ______________________________________________________ Type of morning or afternoon snack____________________ Suggested "treats" for parties________________________ Parents will supply _______________________ for snacks Type of insulin used__________________________________ Shots per day/units per shot__________________________
Copyright © 1996 Juvenile Diabetes
Foundation International. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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