Support for parents with Diabetic children

What happens when your child is diagnosed with Diabetes?

In a related article, we uncovered the meaning of childhood Diabetes, the testing process and how to establish a routine that includes treatment and self-management. This article is a follow-on from that, and explores your journey as a parent to a Diabetic child.

Childhood Diabetes.

How is childhood obesity linked to Diabetes?

We have another article about this, too, that goes into detail about the link between childhood obesity and Diabetes in South Africa. What’s important to understand is: we have a significant childhood obesity problem, and a related childhood Diabetes problem. This is also reflected in global Diabetes statistics, as more and more children across the world are diagnosed as Diabetic.

Type 2 Diabetes diagnoses in children have skyrocketed over the past two decades, with more and more children presenting with Diabetic symptoms, and being diagnosed as Diabetic. Type 2 Diabetes is particularly problematic, as these diagnoses are often related to lifestyle, eating habits, obesity, and a lack of physical activity. Global efforts to prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes include: nutritional guidelines, recommendations for physical activities, and other important rules for raising children.

What do you need to change, to parent a Diabetic child?

This is probably the most commonly asked question around having a Diabetic child. We answer all the big questions related to this below:

How to prepare meals for Diabetic children:

Being diagnosed as Diabetic will – undoubtedly – usher in much change for your child, particularly in their eating habits. The easiest way to manage this is to simply adopt a Diabetic eating plan for the whole family. This makes it simple when you are preparing meals and planning your family’s nutritional intake, and will make it easier when you shop for groceries too. For advice and guidance on Diabetic eating plans, talk to your doctor or clinic sister, and consult our helpful guide.

What exercise should Diabetic children be doing?

As with Diabetic eating, we recommend turning exercise into a family activity. Make sure your child gets sufficient exercise, and enjoy the experience together. There are so many ways to ensure your child gets enough exercise, and it’s vitally important for mental health, wellbeing, and their physical development too.

Click here to learn more about Diabetes-appropriate exercises that you can speak to your doctor about adapting for your child.

Do Diabetic children need to visit the doctor more often?

If your child has been diagnosed as Diabetic, he/she will need to be regularly monitored by your doctor or clinic sister. Make sure you book and attend every appointment, and that the tests, treatment, and lifestyle changes are carefully and clearly explained to your child.

Understand more about Diabetes and how to live a happy, healthy life as a Diabetic.

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Who needs to know that your child is Diabetic?

It’s important that your child’s caregivers, schools, and other important people are informed about your child’s diagnosis as Diabetic. It will mean having to let their friends’ parents know, so that they don’t accidentally indulge in any restricted food items while they are attending a birthday party or playdate.

Your child may also need to take medication while at school, and make their own food choices. The more you are able to equip your child with the right information, the better they will become at making the right choices, every time.

How do you discuss Diabetes with your child?

No matter how easily your child may handle their diagnosis as a Diabetic, it’s important to remember that they may battle with it at some point. We encourage that you show support in the way your child needs it, and make space for other circles of support too. Examples include joining a support group, seeking out friends who have also been diagnosed as Diabetic, or finding parents who are, like you, parenting Diabetic children.

As your child grows up, they will take more and more personal control over their own lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, and other elements of life. Laying the foundations for a healthy lifestyle while your child is still in your care is important. Giving children everything they need to ensure they continue living a healthy lifestyle, as they become adults, is just as important.

Remember to be a good example, and ensure your children grow up with a healthy, happy lifestyle that’s focused on ensuring they develop to the best of their potential.

Sources:

AllLife. n.d. 5 Simple ways to manage your Diabetes. [online] Available at: https://alllife.co.za/diabetes/diabetes-facts/diagnosis-and-what-you-need-to-know/ [Accessed 23 November 2020].

AllLife. n.d. Childhood Diabetes: Warning Signs, Diagnosis And Treatment. [online] Available at: https://alllife.co.za/diabetes/diabetes-facts/childhood-diabetes/ [Accessed 23 November 2020].

AllLife. n.d. How to manage type 1 and type 2 Diabetes. [online] Available at: https://alllife.co.za/diabetes/diabetes-facts/managing-your-health/ [Accessed 23 November 2020].

Business Standard. 2019. Type 2 Diabetes On Rise In Children And Teens: Here’s What You Must Know. [online] Available at: https://www.business-standard.com/article/health/type-2-diabetes-in-children-and-teens-is-on-rise-here-s-what-you-must-know-119111400863_1.html [Accessed 23 November 2020].

Diabetes South Africa. n.d. Children With Diabetes. [online] Available at: https://www.diabetessa.org.za/children-and-teenagers-with-diabetes/ [Accessed 23 November 2020].

Rao, R., 2019. These Are The Signs Of Diabetes In Children – Sheknows. [online] Sheknows.com. Available at: https://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/2127606/signs-of-diabetes-in-kids/ [Accessed 23 November 2020].

We all have questions.

Below are some of the answers to the most common questions that you need to know.

Which is worse – Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes?

“Worse” is a harsh comparison. The difference between these two types of Diabetes is that Type 1 requires insulin, and it never goes away. Type 2 requires consistent effort and can be managed over your lifetime.

What is the normal HbA1C level?

It is generally accepted that you should maintain HbA1C below 8%. The following guidelines are suggested by the South African Diabetes Association:

 

  • 4 – 6% Non-Diabetic range. 
  • < 7% Well-controlled Diabetic 7% – 8% Acceptable Diabetic control > 8% 
  • Poor Diabetic control needs attention.

What is the main cause of Diabetes?

Diabetes (Type 1) is usually a predisposed or genetically inherited condition. Diabetes (Type 2) is caused by lifestyle choices. Gestational Diabetes occurs in pregnant mothers.

What are the first signs of Diabetes?

  • Excessive thirst over a prolonged period.
  • Increased frequency in the need to urinate.
  • Significant weight loss or gain.
  • You find yourself fatigued, tired, and irritable, on a regular basis.
  • Open or ruptured wounds take a long time to heal.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Tingling sensations in your hands and feet.

Can you get life insurance if you have Diabetes?

Yes. AllLife can help you get up to R10million life insurance, when you are a Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetic.

Can I test myself for Diabetes?

Although you can easily test your own blood glucose levels at any time, only your doctor, nurse, or clinic team can confirm your diagnosis as Diabetic. A series of specific tests are required for diagnosis.

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