As long as a child’s diabetes is managed well, they can take part in all the activities that kids normally do, says Dr. Jothydev Kesavadev, Diabetologist
Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health challenges of the 21st century. Across the globe, the number of adults living with diabetes has more than tripled over the past 20 years. In India, there is also a widespread incidence of diabetes among children. As per The Diabetes Atlas 2019, it is estimated that India is housing 95,600 children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes.
If a child is diagnosed with Type 1 paediatric diabetes, i.e., their bodies no longer produce insulin, the missing insulin needs to be substituted with injectables or with an insulin pump. While one can’t achieve 100 percent paediatric diabetes prevention, its symptoms can be managed. One can help prevent complications by maintaining good blood glucose levels, feeding them healthy food, and ensuring they participate in regular physical activity.
“Type 1 diabetes is one the most common endocrine illness, that make up 5 to 15 percent of diabetics and often involve children. The incidence of childhood diabetes is on the rise worldwide therefore, maintaining and monitoring glucose levels is of utmost importance to avoid any mishaps. Monitoring blood glucose levels can be overwhelming, but it gets easier with practice,” says Dr. Jothydev Kesavadev, Diabetologist and MD of Jothydev’s Diabetes Research Centres.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recognizes continuous monitoring of glucose an integral component of effective treatment planning for patients with diabetes. Some of the benefits that glucose monitoring offers:
It provides real-time, dynamic information about the speed and direction of glucose levels in patients with diabetes. The data collected as part of it shows a holistic picture on how things like food, activity, stress and illness impact the blood glucose levels. For children, (age 4 – 17) the interpretation of readings can be done by a supervisor or a caregiver and diabetes can be supervised and managed accordingly.
Devices that monitor glucose levels provide real-time glucose readings. One such device is the Freestyle Libre which is discreet as it is a painless one-second scan. It measures interstitial fluid glucose levels in people (age 4 and older) with diabetes mellitus. With tech advancements today, these devices are water resistant and are active even when the wearer is asleep, thus providing effective monitoring.
*Improved glycemic control
Having continuous feedback on diet, exercise, and insulin requirements can help one make informed decisions for their children with diabetes on food choices and exercises. It alleviates the guesswork about daily patterns and fluctuations and enables decisions based on data.
These devices use tiny sensors to measure glucose levels just beneath the skin where sensors connect to a transmitter, which then transmits readings to a smart device. That means children can be saved from the hassles and pain of being pricked every time their blood samples need to be collected.
“As long as a child’s diabetes is managed well, they can take part in all the activities that kids normally do. If your child is ill, it’s advisable to check their blood glucose more often and take extra precautions,” he added.
Poor glucose control or failure to manage glucose levels can place individuals at increased risk of health complications including neuropathy, cardiovascular complications, retinopathy and foot ulcers. For people with diabetes, continuous glucose monitoring or regular tracking of blood glucose levels is the most important thing to manage their condition.
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