If your child has just been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important that you have a pediatrician you can turn to in order to create a customized and effective treatment plan. While diabetes cannot be cured, diagnosing, and treating your child’s diabetes as soon as possible is key to helping them maintain a long, healthy and happy life.
There are two different kinds of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, usually happens during childhood. This autoimmune disorder occurs when the body attacks the pancreas so that it doesn’t produce insulin. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes in adults; however, children can also develop type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, with the increase in childhood obesity our doctors are seeing a rise in type 2 diabetes in children, as well. The pancreas of children and teens with type 2 diabetes does produce insulin but the body just doesn’t properly respond to it.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Both types of diabetes often present with the same symptoms including:
- Increased hunger and thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Sores and cuts that don’t heal properly
Other symptoms may include:
- Mood swings
- Unexpected weight loss
- Numbness or tingling
Treating Type 1 Diabetes
There is no cure for type 1 diabetes. Since your child’s body doesn’t produce insulin this means that they will need to receive daily insulin injections. Along with taking these injections, you will need to monitor your child’s blood sugar every day to make sure their levels aren’t too high or don’t drop too quickly.
Treating Type 2 Diabetes
Even though children and teens with Type 2 diabetes produce insulin, the body doesn’t respond properly to it. Because of this, your child will need to take daily medication to maintain healthy glucose levels. As with type 1 diabetes, daily blood sugar monitoring is necessary to make sure that the medication your pediatrician prescribed is effective.
Along with taking medication, there are certain lifestyle modifications that can also go a long way to controlling your child’s type 2 diabetes. In fact, sometimes type 2 can be reversed with a healthy diet and regular exercise alone, depending on the severity. Lifestyle modifications include:
- Eating a healthy balanced diet
- Limiting sugar and carbs, which can spike blood sugar
- Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day most days of the week
- Losing excess weight and maintaining a healthy weight
If your child is experiencing symptoms of diabetes or if you have questions about the best way to treat your little one’s diabetes don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician for an appointment.