Juvenile diabetes or Type 1 diabetes as it is commonly known strikes at every organ in the body. Once Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed, insulin must be taken daily to live. This diabetes is usually diagnosed during childhood, but can sometimes be found later in life. It is caused by the body’s rejection and destruction of insulin-producing cells. Without insulin, the body can’t use glucose for energy and turns to burning fat cells instead. The disease must be treated or severe complications can develop over a period. Complications involving nerves and blood vessels can develop; heart disease, vascular complications, stroke, amputation, and comas are possible.
Most of those patients diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes are children or young teenagers. The control of their blood glucose levels is important to avoid complications such as insulin comas and shock. Children and teens with Type 1 diabetes must be able to test their levels, eat food if it is necessary, and give injections whenever necessary. If students don’t follow their routine in school, it could cause severe problems. Most children and teens over eight years old are adept at taking care of testing and injecting insulin. Sometimes, they may be wearing the device that watches blood sugar levels continuously, or an insulin pump that will inject the insulin as needed.
Children that have diabetes should be allowed to take blood glucose levels, give insulin, and eat if their levels signal they should, even if it is in the classroom. Children with diabetes need to be able to carry emergency supplies in backpacks or purses and should be allowed to keep their insulin in a secure location but available to them when they need it. The JDRF recommend that a child under eight years old should have an adult assigned to them to properly keep track of blood sugar levels, and know what to do in a diabetic emergency.
It is also recommended that a responsible adult trained in emergency treatment of diabetes symptoms. They need to know what the warning signs are, and what to look for in a diabetic emergency. Faculty and administrators should allow special allowances for those students who are experiencing high or low glucose levels.
A child or teen may not want their friends to know they have diabetes discussed among their peers. Schools should accept that and respect the privacy they deserve. Children and teenagers should be allowed to take part in team sports, physical activity classes, and field trips. It is safe for them to join in as long as they are checking their blood glucose levels regularly and taking their medication.
If you have a child with Type 1 diabetes, it’s essential you talk to his or her teachers and be sure they understand the importance of testing and administering insulin at the correct time every day. Your child can have a wonderful experience at school and be able to control their illness. They may need just a little help but it is possible.