Type 1 Diabetes: Children Living With the Disease - Treatment Overview
Regular medical checkups
Your child needs to see
his or her doctor every 3 to 6 months. During these checkups, the doctor will
evaluate and adjust your child's treatment. The doctor will do a hemoglobin A1c
or similar test (glycosylated hemoglobin or
glycohemoglobin) to check your child's blood sugar
control over the previous 2 to 3 months, and a
blood glucose test.
If your child's
LDL cholesterol is less than 100 mg/dL (2.60 mmol/L)
and there is no family history of
high cholesterol, the doctor will do a
cholesterol (LDL and HDL) test every 5 years. If your child's blood pressure is consistently high and not reduced with weight control or exercise, the doctor may consider medicine.
When your child has had diabetes for 5 years, the doctor will start
yearly screening tests for protein in the urine, which points to
diabetic nephropathy. At that same time, your child
needs to see an
ophthalmologist for yearly dilated eye exams (ophthalmoscopy) to check for signs of
diabetic retinopathy. If your child is at low risk for vision
problems, your doctor may consider doing follow-up exams less often.
Treatment for high blood sugar emergency
child does not take enough insulin, has a severe infection or other illness, or
dehydrated, his or her blood sugar level may rise very
high and lead to
diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis is almost always treated in a hospital, often in the intensive care unit, where
caregivers can watch your child closely and give him or her frequent blood
tests for glucose and
electrolytes. Insulin is given through a vein
(intravenous, or IV) to bring blood sugar levels down. Fluids are given through
the IV to correct the electrolyte imbalance. Your child may stay in the
hospital for a few days until blood sugar levels are back in the target
range and electrolytes have normalized.
What to think about
For some children, using an
insulin pump may help keep their blood sugar levels
within a target range.
- Diabetes: Should I Get an Insulin Pump?
- Diabetes: Living With an Insulin Pump
If your child has frequent low blood sugar levels,
especially at night (nocturnal hypoglycemia), the doctor may
suggest a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). A CGM reports blood sugar at least every 5 minutes, day and night. It sounds an alarm if blood sugar levels are moving out of range.
The monitor stores the results, which allows you to look for
patterns of high or low blood sugar levels.