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March 26, 2021

How to support your child with type 1 diabetes

Living with Type I Diabetes

Everything is Everything

You know last year we had a special guest, Elle Cole, from Cleverly Changing on the show. In the “ Everything is Everything” episode and you can find that below. She has two beautiful twin daughters, one of which has sickle cell anemia and one who has Type I Diabetes. Even though the episode was focused on Sickle Cell Anemia, Elle also spoke about her daughter's Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. So I just wanted to touch on that because it’s a very important issue that a lot of people don’t really understand. There’s a lot of confusion about what it is and what it isn’t and the differences between Type I and Type II diabetes. So let’s go ahead and get that cleared up. 

What is Type I Diabetes

Type I diabetes is known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. But you know, because it largely affects children, that’s why we’re talking about it today. What I don’t think a lot of people know is Type I diabetes is actually an auto-immune disease where the pancreas produces little or no insulin. It usually shows up in adolescence but sometimes can develop in adults. It doesn’t come from a poor diet, ok. Too many carbs, too much candy doesn’t make Type I diabetes. It is an auto-immune disease. And even though there’s been extensive research, there is no cure, meaning that a very careful diet and insulin shots are a way of life. You cannot live without these two things.  

So what plays into diabetes? Genetics and family history play a role. As you move away from the equator, your odds of having Type I diabetes increases. This means if your ancestors are from Africa, South American, or parts of Asia you have a higher chance of getting Type I diabetes. I know, it’s crazy, right? There are some age factors at play. Children between 4 and 7 are at higher risk, and then again, children between 10 and 14 years old. Because it is an auto-immune disease, some recent studies show that having certain viruses can put you at risk along with other auto-immune diseases. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, some signs to look out for are increased thirst, frequent urination, bedwetting where there wasn’t a problem before, extreme hunger, unintended weight loss, irritability and other mood changes, fatigue and weakness, and blurred vision. 

What to Know About Type I Diabetes

People with Type I Diabetes have to take some extra precautions others might not have to take. They need to monitor their blood sugar before, during, and after exercise. Make sure they bring a healthy snack because exercise can release stored glucose from the liver and use up insulin from the muscles. 

Type I Diabetics have to monitor their carbohydrate intake closely and match it to their insulin intake. Keeping with a low-glycemic diet is best, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t eat any carbs. Because we need carbs in our diet for energy, to keep our cholesterol in balance, and for healthy brain function. So there is always this battle to keep that fine balance, and for kids, you know, that’s tough. They want to eat those snacks and foods that their friends eat, that they see on TV, and it isn’t always the best choice, or they can’t eat it without a lot of consideration and planning.

So diabetes is manageable, except that pharmaceutical companies have raised the prices for insulin so much that some people can’t afford the amounts they need to survive. Lower-income families and those without insurance have been hit hard. Now, Walmart does offer some brands of insulin much cheaper than most that you don’t even need a prescription for; however, these types of insulins are older formulas and require a very rigid diet and eating schedule, not fit with so many people’s lifestyle especially when you’re talking about kids and trying to get them to do what you’re telling them. So you have to weigh your options. 

But no matter what, if you think your child has diabetes, you need to see a health care specialist. Just make sure you advocate for your child and not just take everything at face value. Every child is different. Every situation is different. The doctor is there to treat a disease, and yes, I know your child too, but they don’t have the time to spend to get to know your child the way you do. So speak up when something doesn’t sit well with you. Be the voice for your child. 

If you’d like more information regarding living with Type I Diabetes listen to the episode below and check out Elle Cole’s Cleverly Changing Blog for more tips on how to raise your child with Type 1 Diabetes.

Thanks for listening. For more information about The Parenting Cipher or interested in using our services to visit our resources below:


You can find more information about Elle Cole below:

Website: www.cleverlychanging.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cleverlychanging/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CleverlyChanging

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cleverlychangin

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