Diabetes is often thought of a disease related to adults, mainly those who are obese. But that’s not accurate – statistics show around 18,000 people under the age of 20 are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year in the U.S., and that number was on an upward trend in the first decade of the millennium.
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Type 1 differs from type 2, in that type 1 is an autoimmune disease that attacks your pancreas and halts it from producing the hormone that regulates blood sugar. In contrast, type 2 can develop later in life from a set of risk factors, with obesity being one of them. If your child has type 1 diabetes (once referred to as juvenile diabetes), there are some things you should know to help them manage the disease and improve their quality of life. Here are 12 of them…
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1. Monitor Blood Sugar Often
One of the biggest adjustments as a caregiver to a child with type 1 diabetes is ensuring their blood sugar is within a normal range (especially when they can’t do it themselves). But it’s not just a daily check – WebMD notes that this might entail checking your child’s blood glucose (sugar) as many as 12-times per day.
The source also notes that you can get better at keeping levels within a healthy range through practice, and you’ll begin to recognize behaviors when blood sugar is too high or too low. For example, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is common for those with type 1 diabetes, and carries signs such as shakiness, sweating, pale skin, and clumsiness.