Diabetes, the disease of sweets
Thirst, fatigue and weight loss are some diabetes symptoms. On November 14th, the World Diabetes Day. It is a chronic disorder that affects the correct functioning of our pancreas and is discovered in 80,000 people in the world every year.
But, do you know why? There are several types of diabetes. On the one hand, we have Type 1 diabetes which is what most often affects children and occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. On the other hand, we find type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body does not efficiently use the insulin it produces, normally associated with obesity. Special mention deserves gestational diabetes, which causes hyperglycemia during pregnancy. It is important to know that if you have had diabetes when you were expecting a baby this does not necessarily mean that he will have it too.
Diabetes, when does it appear and who has it?
Type 1 diabetes, which is the most frequent in childhood, is a disease that can be considered frequent in our country. They usually have 20-25 of every 100 thousand people and it is essential to know the details of their treatment, because being a chronic disease this can not be suspended at any time. In Spain there are currently 29,000 children under 15 years with this type of diabetes and it is estimated that 17.7 cases of children under 14 years of age per 100,000 inhabitants are discovered each year, which means 1,235 new cases per year.
It is true that, when the children are first diagnosed, they can do what has been called a "honeymoon", which consists in that the insulin needs are very low for a short period of time, in order to recover the usual needs later. Isabel González Casado, Head of the Pediatric Endocrinology Service of the La Paz Hospital in Madrid, underlines the importance of parents, guardians and caregivers knowing the procedure to be followed for maintain correct blood sugar levels in the child. Especially when, Casado recalls, "an increase in the percentage of diabetes has been detected in children under five years of age".
Among the problems derived from a poorly managed treatment of type 1 diabetes, microvascular diseases stand out, mainly blindness, a problem that can appear in the long term if, as we have commented, the patient has poor control of his diabetes. Hence the importance of trying to keep sugar levels as close to normal.
Diabetes can appear at any age
We can have diabetes at any age and can appear even at as young as 10 months. In these cases, parents should take extreme control of childhood diabetes and arrange frequent pediatric check-ups to stabilize blood sugar levels and make necessary modifications.
González Casado points out that from about age 9 the children can start to self-inject the insulin dose that the doctor has indicated to achieve that stabilization we are talking about. Because we must not forget that what happens to children is that their pancreas does not produce enough insulin and must be administered by the subcutaneous route, that is, punctured under the skin. In addition, frequent checks of the blood sugar levels by means of devices that are called glucometers. You also have to ensure that they eat adequately and at the right time, the carbohydrates they need to not have sugar drops (hypoglycemia), or rises.
For all this, in the school teachers must be aware of their illness. In this sense, the doctor maintains that it would be necessary to have qualified personnel in the schools to be able to help the children with diabetes. In this way, it calls for the reinforcement of health care in schools so that children with diabetes can lead a normal school life without their parents having to stop working.
Sugar drops, frequent in diabetes
In any case, the pediatrician emphasizes the importance of telling the child how to proceed if he feels dizzy. Sugar lows or hypoglycaemia are relatively common when you have diabetes. If you have eaten less than the account or have done a lot of exercise, these can be a usual consequence. What should be done in case of falling sugar? The first is to resort to a food with a high content of carbohydrates that is quickly absorbed, such as sugary drinks such as fruit juices, glucose pills or a glass of water with sugar. "It is important that the child always has something on top that can help him in this situation," he tells us. The doctor points out that if hypoglycaemia is more severe, even intramuscular punctured glucagon may be needed.
Hospitals facilitate the treatment of diabetes
There are devices for measuring blood glucose (glucometers) that works through a few test strips. With a slight prick on the finger you get a drop of blood that is analyzed on the test strip and tell the patient what their sugar level is. The child and / or their parents should know how much insulin they have to inject depending on their sugar levels and what they are going to eat. To handle all these situations, children and their caregivers learn thanks to the diabetological education that is given to them in the hospital.
The treatment has to be strictly followed because if it is not possible to produce long-term microvascular complications, as we already mentioned. It is a disease that can not be cured, but with proper follow-up, you can lead a completely normal life. It is recommended, however, a healthy lifestyle, take a good diet and perform moderate exercise regularly.