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Dealing with Diabetes in Children

Diabetes mellitus is a disease affecting the pancreas gland in the abdomen. This gland produces the substance insulin which helps the body use up the sugar which comes from our diet. If there is insufficient insulin glucose builds up in the bloodstream and this can cause problems for many of the organs of the body.

Diabetics may have to inject themselves with insulin on a regular basis. Insulin cannot be given by mouth. Parents are often concerned at the thought of either giving image 11 Dealing with Diabetes in Childrentheir child injections or the thought of the child giving injections to himself. It is always surprising how even young children cope. If your child is diagnosed with diabetes mellitus it is vitally important that he attends all check-ups and that together you learn to keep the strictest possible control over his blood glucose to avoid complications in later life.

A ‘hypo’ refers to an episode of hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar. This may happen if a diabetic has had his normal dose of insulin but for some reason, often a stomach upset, has not had his normal food intake. The child may be sweaty and sleepy or even confused. It is vital that he is given sugar in any form although special tablets are available which are convenient to carry around. An untreated hypo may result in unconsciousness and then it is essential to call a doctor.

You may have come across diabetics who use oral tablets. These are usually only suitable for people who have developed diabetes in later life. Children with diabetes will nearly always need insulin to gain control over their blood sugar.

This article is a guide only – please seek advice from your medical advisor in all cases.

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