Diabetes is difficult.
Here are some helpful tips as a guide for parents:
Be patient, everything will seem like a blur when someone you love is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Give yourself time to learn about diabetes; there is so much to learn and even more than is not yet understood.
This is not a disease that you can ever completely get right, but one to live with and monitor daily. Perle Bioscience is working tirelessly to find ways to regenerate hormones not working correctly.
It takes time to be comfortable with diabetes, but that doesn’t mean one ever gets comfortable about having lows or highs.
Understand that despite everything you do, glucose levels will go from low to high and high to low. For example, at Joslin Diabetes Camp, where the focus is to help manage diabetes, teenagers who were using pumps and glucose sensors were shown to have a repeated pattern of their glucose levels going from 40 to 400 and back to 40 with the cycle repeating.
Know that you are not alone in your frustration.
Lows are most frightening because the symptoms are sudden. Correcting the low needs to be done immediately.
Always have a glucagon emergency pen on hand. You will need a prescription from your doctor to get one. Use the glucagon pen if you are unable to give someone a glucose tablet, glucose gel or juice because they are uncooperative, cranky or simply not willing to take the juice, glucose gel or glucose tablets. Because there often can be behavior changes with low glucose levels (typically below 70 mg/dL) or from a sudden drop in blood sugar, have the glucagon pen on hand.
Do your best not to deprive your child of things they like to eat—just be aware to provide everything in moderation and learn to cover with short-acting insulin.
Pizza is the hardest food in the world to figure out how to treat correctly with insulin.
Think like a pancreas! The healthy pancreas makes a little insulin all day long, plus a burst of insulin within 60 seconds from the time a carbohydrate hits the stomach. This is why we give a basal 24 hour insulin to mimic the tiny bursts of insulin a healthy pancreas would make all day long, and a short-acting insulin, for when we eat, which works right away. The method of treatment of giving a bolus of short acting insulin before meals and carbohydrate containing snacks, helps to mimic the bursts of insulin the pancreas makes with food.
By checking glucose level 2 hours after the meal and comparing it to the pre-meal level, you can get an idea of how well you have calculated the pre-meal dosage of insulin.
Breakfast and dinner typically require more pre-meal insulin than lunch.
Engage your child to help manage their diabetes any way that they can:
Allow younger children to help put the test strip in the glucose meter.
Allow your child to give their own injections if they are able.
Have the family eat the same healthy foods and snack as the patient.
Reward your child for helping with shopping and choosing healthy foods.
Have your child help in preparation of meals to any extent they can.
Have your child help choose what they want to eat from a selection of healthy choices that you provide them.
Diabetes is also very hard emotionally for siblings who feel that attention is being taken away from them, even though they love and understand the needs of the patient.
Siblings feel both anger and guilt about being angry.
Focus as much time as possible on your other children, including special activities you do separately with your other children.
Teach your other family members to be part of the team and get everyone involved with what diabetes is all about.
Allow your child to do everything—even if you are afraid!
Engaging everyone from teachers, friends and coaches will help your child and those around your child to feel more comfortable.
A host of technology and resources are available to help you and your child in addition to your endocrinologist such as:
A variety of insulin pumps.
Continuous glucose monitors.
Blood glucose meters.
Diabetes log book apps.
Certified diabetes educators and online diabetes communities.
Quotes from those who are directly impacted by type 1 diabetes.
“Type 1 diabetes for us has been life altering, you can never take a break from it; it’s a horribly misunderstood disease.”
– Joanne 52 years old, dx type 1 at age 47, mother of two daughters Alexandra age 24, dx type 1 at 13 months and Caitlan age 21 dx type 1 at age 3.
The National Diabetes Education Program
Children require school policies to help facilitate their life sustaining health regimen. A supportive network of parents, teachers, coaches, and health care providers working together with the student to develop guidelines and give assistance for management of their diabetes. This assistance may include helping your child take medications, check blood sugar levels, choose healthy foods in the cafeteria, and be physically active. Plans for lunch, physical activity such as PE, and field trips need to be determined at the beginning of each year.
Children with diabetes usually always need to carry medically-necessary devices, such as injection kits for the delivery of glucagon, syringes and insulin pumps for insulin delivery, and continuous glucose monitors in their backpacks or on their person.
The National Diabetes Education Program offers a guide for school personnel, Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel. It can be found and downloaded at the following link: