Type 1 diabetes in children
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Type 1 Diabetes in Children. By: Briana Wexler EEC2732 : Summer 2013. What is type 1 diabetes?. It is a disease that affects how the body uses it’s glucose, which is the main type of sugar in the blood. It results when the pancreas loses it’s ability to create the hormone, Insulin.

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Type 1 Diabetes in Children

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Type 1 diabetes in children

Type 1 Diabetes in Children

By: Briana Wexler

EEC2732 : Summer 2013


What is type 1 diabetes

What is type 1 diabetes?

  • It is a disease that affects how the body uses it’s glucose, which is the main type of sugar in the blood.

  • It results when the pancreas loses it’s ability to create the hormone, Insulin.

  • In Type 1, the persons own immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Once they are destroyed, they will never make insulin again.

  • In order to get Type 1 Diabetes you must have the diabetes gene already, and it often shows itself when one gets exposed to a virus.

  • Type 1 cannot be prevented, predicted, or cured. Once diagnosed, it is a life long process of insulin injections, or an insulin pump in order to maintain a safe and relatively normal lifestyle.


Signs and symptoms

Signs and Symptoms

  • Frequent Urination: The kidneys respond to high levels of glucose in the bloodstream by flushing it out in urine. A child with diabetes urinates more frequently and in larger volume.

  • Abnormally Thirsty: Seeing as the child is losing so much fluid from urination, they become very thirsty to help avoid dehydration. A child with diabetes drinks a lot to keep the level of body water normal.

  • Weight Loss: Kids and teens who develop Type 1 may have an increased apatite, but often lost weight. This is because the body breaks down muscle and stored fat in an attempt to provide fuel to the hungry cells.

  • Fatigue: Because the body can’t use the glucose for energy properly, children with Type 1 are often very tired.


Possible long term affects

Possible long-term affects

  • In addition to many short-term problems, diabetes can cause some serious long-term complications in some people, including heart disease, stroke, vision impairment, and kidney damage. It can also cause other problems throughout the body in the blood vessels, nerves, and gums. These problems don’t usually show up in kids or teens, however they can show up in adulthood, particularly to those who do not manage it properly.

  • An extreme side affect would be the pancreas failing entirely, in which case one is often places on a transplant list. Although this should not happen if it is managed properly.


Managing the condition

Managing the condition

  • Check blood sugar levels several times a day by testing a small blood sample.

  • Give themselves insulin injections, or have an adult do this, or use an insulin pump (which is becoming more common).


Managing the condition1

Managing the condition

  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet and pay special attention to the amounts of sugars and starches in the food they eat and the timing of their meals.

  • Get regular exercise to help control blood sugar levels and help avoid some of the long-term health problems.

  • Work closely with the doctor and diabetes health care team to help achieve the best possible control of their diabetes and be monitored for signs of diabetes complications and other health problems


Teaching modifications

Teaching modifications

  • When you knowingly have a student with Type 1 Diabetes teaching modifications need to be made in order to ensure that the child gets the attention and time they need in order to keep their condition under control in the classroom. They cannot be penalized for having to possibly leave the room more frequently, or go to the bathroom more frequently, and we as educators need to support them and not isolate them from the rest of the class


Classroom changes

Classroom changes?

  • As Early Childhood Educators, we are working with young children and young minds.

  • Know what conditions our students may suffer from, and take the time to learn about it.

  • If a student has Type 1, you can suggest that they describe the condition to the class from their standpoint, so he/she is not uncomfortable or having to hide the condition

  • If a student has Type 1 Diabetes we need to be sure to adjust certain things, such as treats or rewards that may be given to children in regular circumstances.

  • Allow that student to step out of the classroom when necessary, and to go to the bathroom when necessary

  • Be sure to not take it overboard and to include that child in everything that the other students are doing, just be sure to monitor it in order to keep them safe. Young children may not have as strong of a handle on the condition as older kids/adults have, so they need people in their corner helping them and looking out for them. Which is something we as educators need/love to do.


Personal connection

Personal connection

  • Type 1 Diabetes is much more than the symptoms, management, medical side of things. It affects a child/teen/adults day to day life, and their family’s day to day life. My father, Steven Wexler, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 11, and has been living with it for 45 years now. When he was first diagnosed their were not as many ways to keep it under control like there are now. He had to go through several tests, and him and his family had to travel to different parts of the country to learn the specifics and gain information on how to manage it. He began by having to get his insulin injections several times a day by his parents. As he got older he began to give them to himself when no else could, especially his college years. And when he married my mother, she began to give them to him for about 10 years. About 15 years ago he began using an insulin pump, which allowed for greater control and a more flexible lifestyle. My father works his hardest to manage it properly and limit the long-term side effects, but some cannot be avoided. He was diagnosed with Retinopathy, but was able to lessen the effects by changing his lifestyle, and he has had several surgeries on his hand due to scar tissue build up, making it hard to fully function, and hard to play his guitar, which is his passion. This effects his day to day life, and effects the family as a whole. There are memories I have of being a young child and seeing my dad fall asleep and not be able to wake him up because his blood sugars crashed, or seeing kids and adults look at him funny at the beach because of his insulin pump, and being at dinner and him having to break everything down and adjust his insulin intake accordingly. It is not easy, and it effects yourself, and the whole family, but if you have a strong support system, and you work hard every day to manage it properly, you can remain as healthy as possible and keep a relatively normal lifestyle. Doctors keep working towards a cure, and we keep hoping one will come soon!


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