Child Diabetes Treatment
If your child has been diagnosed with diabetes, they will usually be cared for by a specialist diabetes team based at a hospital as well as the GP.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes was formerly referred to as juvenile on-set diabetes because this type of diabetes is often diagnosed during the childhood years. However, the onset of Type 1 diabetes can be at any age and it is not uncommon for people older than 18 years old to develop this type of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease, where the body destroys the part of the pancreas that makes insulin.
If your child has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes then their treatment will always be insulin therapy as their body is no longer able to make and deliver its own insulin. Their diabetes care team will plan an insulin regimen suited to your child’s needs and lifestyle.
During the day, their blood glucose levels will normally be controlled by doses of fast-acting insulin taken at meal times. At night time, levels will be controlled by slow-acting insulin. Sometimes in the initial period following diagnosis, small children will only need a very small dose of insulin, but this will change as they grow and get older.
Insulin pump therapy
Insulin pump therapy (also known as continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion therapy or CSII) is also common amongst children. The insulin pump is a small device (about the size of a mobile phone) worn outside the body, which continuously delivers insulin into the layer of tissue just beneath the skin (subcutaneous tissue) through a very thin tube or needle inserted under the skin.
The insulin is usually delivered at a set rate over the day, which is then increased when it’s needed, such as at meal times. Insulin pump therapy can be helpful for children who are having difficulties with multiple daily injections of insulin and may help them with improved control.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult on-set diabetes because this type of diabetes is generally diagnosed during adulthood. However, it is now becoming more common for people younger than 18 years old to develop this type of diabetes.
In Type 2 diabetes, the body still makes its own insulin but the cells in the body have difficulty in using the insulin to remove the sugar (glucose) from the blood. Blood glucose levels are managed with careful attention to diet, physical activity, weight loss, stress reduction and taking diabetes tablets.
The number and type of tablets that are used will vary depending on how your diabetes health team believes they can best help you to lower your glucose levels. Over time the body needs more support and the person with Type 2 diabetes will then need to take insulin from injections to help manage their glucose levels.