We mostly read about people with Type 2 Diabetes; this is an adult onset Diabetes where the pancreas slows down its function and doesn’t put out enough insulin to maintain a normal blood sugar. If it comes to a point where the pancreas cannot keep up with the weight and size of the person, which is requiring more insulin, the person becomes a Type 2 Diabetic.
However, sometimes in the very young, the pancreas simply quits working altogether and does not produce insulin. These people become Type 1 Diabetics. Oral medications usually don’t help because they can’t make the pancreas work any better. You essentially become insulin dependent.
This is very disconcerting to many parents who have never dealt with a diabetic family member before. They’re on a fast learning curve to understand signs and symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
Treatment for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Usually a Type 2 Diabetic changes over time; they can take an array of pills to make their pancreas work harder, or pills to make their cells more sensitive to insulin. Time is on their side to learn to cope with their slow onset disease.
Type 1 Diabetics usually have rapid onset – their body simply says “I’m not working here anymore; ya’ hear me? No more insulin for you” – and in a day, the child is tired, warm, sweaty, fruity smelling breath, and when checked, a blood sugar nearly off the charts.
Immediate treatment is instituted to get the blood sugar down by IV Insulin in the hospital, and convert to shots to be able to go home. Pills are not going to work at this time. The pancreas has simply shut down the production of insulin.
A Life-Changing Diagnosis
The child now must go through a lifestyle change, being very aware of what they eat and drink, checking their blood sugar all the time until they find a good balance.
Children must be careful not to over exert themselves and drive their blood sugar down unintentionally.
Parents must learn what’s best for their child – what to feed them, how often to check their blood sugar and how much insulin they’ll need. They need to monitor them at play and at rest for awhile to make sure they’re safe.
Type 1 Diabetes is a life change, and most times, families didn’t even know it was coming. This can be a very emotional and taxing time for the child and the parents. Type 1 Diabetes is a life-long disease, but when the child and parents can learn about it and do the appropriate things, the child can also live a long and happy life.
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