What You Should Know About Type 1 Diabetes And Your Child
If your child has recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you may feel worried and confused about the situation. Type 1 diabetes is a serious diagnosis and can be overwhelming at first. Get to know some of the facts that you should know about type 1 diabetes and your child. Then, you can be sure you are better prepared to care for your child and manage their type 1 diabetes going forward.
Type 1 Diabetes Cannot Be Prevented
Unlike type 2 diabetes which can develop because of lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise habits, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that cannot be predicted or prevented. Doctors are unsure as to the exact cause of type 1 diabetes. There could be a genetic influence, but doctors have not isolated a specific genetic mutation that corresponds with this disease.
Type 1 Diabetes Causes a Lack of Insulin
When a child has type 1 diabetes, their body no longer produces insulin or does not produce sufficient insulin to serve its purpose in the body. Insulin is a hormone. It functions to process carbohydrates into usable energy in the body (to either be used immediately or stored for later). When there isn't enough insulin in the body, blood sugar levels are unstable and can easily go too high or too low, causing serious complications and health issues.
Because of this, type 1 diabetes is often referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes. In other words, to remain healthy with type 1 diabetes, your child will have to replace that missing insulin in their body.
Type 1 Diabetes Is Manageable
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that even though type 1 diabetes is a serious medical condition that will require monitoring and treatment, it is a manageable condition. Eventually, you and your child's pediatricians and other doctors will find the right dose of insulin and the right balance of any other needed medications to keep your child's blood sugar within normal levels.
You and your child will get into a routine of testing blood sugar, taking medications and insulin, and eating a healthy, balanced diet. It will not necessarily always go smoothly and medications and insulin will have to be adjusted from time to time, but you and your child will learn to manage the condition so crises are extremely rare.
Now that you know more about type 1 diabetes and your child, you can better care for your child going forward. To learn more, reach out to pediatricians in your area.