The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible. Too high a level (hyperglycemia) can lead to fatigue, excessive urination, constant thirst, weight loss, and an increased level of ketones in the body. Too little blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can lead to weakness, dizziness, confusion, and sometimes even seizures. Proper levels are achieved by a combination of dietary control, with particular attention paid to the intake of sugar and carbohydrates, insulin injections, and regular physical exercise. Parents should discuss home blood glucose monitoring with the doctor, as frequent and accurate measurement of blood sugar levels will help in managing the child’s disease.
Perfect control is too much to hope for. Even if a child is completely trustworthy about insulin and food, he will still occasionally have a raised blood sugar. If a child eats candy occasionally, this act of breaking the rules isn’t life-threatening, so too much fuss should not be made.
One bite of chocolate will not make any child stick, not even a child with diabetes. Even if the child has followed dietary advice, blood sugars can sometimes be a little high or a little low. Parents should always try to be realistic.
WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
Parents will need to exercise skill to help their child accept his condition with the minimum of fuss. They should supervise invisibly while giving him responsibility to learn self-care and control.
Children with diabetes tend to worry more than children without the disease, and this is only to be expected; they have to assume important responsibilities and they know, or will come to know, that diabetes can do some very unpleasant things. Diabetes makes children feel tired and confused, and can make them lose consciousness. A child who is diabetic has to plan ahead when leaving home and remember to take along some candy or sugar and insulin and syringes if the trip is a long one. A child is threatened both physically and psychologically by diabetes, so it is important to be sympathetic without becoming overly protective. As the child grows older, however, he will gain mastery over the situation, learn self-care, and understand what needs to be done.
Subcutaneous injection: Pinch the skin gently and insert the needle at 90˚ to deliver the insulin to the layer of fat just below the skin.
Injection sites: To avoid scarring, vary the injection sites. Suitable sites include the upper arms, thighs, buttocks, and abdomen.