Hyperglycemia and type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes comes with many ups and downs. One such is hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia or high blood sugars. High blood sugars are blood sugars above the range given for a particular child. A high blood sugar usually is defined as 150 mg/dl. If your child is on an insulin pump that number is above 250 mg/dl. Hyperglycemia is an issue when blood sugars run high for a long period of time, typically months. A periodic or a few days of a higher blood sugar is not a sever issue as long as the blood sugar becomes under control.

The symptoms of hyperglycemia are very thirsty, frequent urination, increase in hunger, ketones in urine tested by a ketone strip,and fatigue. Extremely high blood sugars are demonstrated as vomiting, unconscious, fruity smell of the breath, and loss of appetite. Ketones in the urine are made when a person has high blood sugars. Correcting blood sugars with insulin and drinking plenty of fluids will correct ketones and high blood sugars.

Causes for hyperglycemia in children is from a mismatch of insulin and carbohydrates counts. But other reasons are attributed to high blood sugars often due to child’s need for more basal insulin and or the child is growing.

To determine why a child has higher blood sugar it takes persistence to correct and know blood sugars are correctablef.

Type 1 Diabetes and Friends

Friends can be a tricky thing with your type 1 child. Children want so badly to fit in with others, to have a group of people who accept them unconditionally. Type 1 diabetes can make your child have the impression of being unaccepted. Now not all children feel this way. Many children have a self-confidence that is made of iron and other children determine their confidence based on others. And let’s face it: other kids can be mean and use diabetes as a way to pick on and bully your type 1 child.  As parents we want to embrace our children, keep them safe, and have them feel confident no matter what and make all of their ills disappear. If we, as parents, could do that we would wipe out diabetes all together with our wants and desires.

Since we cannot wipe out diabetes, how do we help our children to be comfortable with this lifelong disease?  I believe it depends of your child’s age. With a middle, elementary school and younger child, parents need to enter the classroom each year and talk to the class about type 1 diabetes. Joslin has a great handout to guide you as a parent through this at http://www.joslin.org/info/classroom_presentation_on_diabetes_for_elementary_school_age_children.html   Beyond talking to the class, you can also enlist the help of the friend’s parents. They will need to know about your child anyways so why not have them help talk to their child about childhood diabetes? The friend’s parent may know how to talk to their child about specific for their child.

Then with an older child,  he should start to learn to talk to their friends about Type 1 Diabetes. This will help two-fold. First, it helps your type 1 child learn about their disease a bit more because he or she needs to talk about Type 1. Secondly, I strongly believe that encouraging your child to discuss this makes them more confident about themselves. When a child becomes more confident they are more likely to advocate for themselves. With advocation less childhood bullying could occur. Kids don’t tend to pick on kids that are confident in themselves. Self-advocation is a lifelong habit.

All T1D kids need to eventually be able to discuss how their body works, why they need insulin, to carry sugar, eat often, and sometimes feel cruddy because of their sugars. Teaching your child while they are with you by talking to the classroom and their friend’s parents about type 1 diabetes will enhance your child’s ability to make lifelong habits to talk and discuss about their diabetes.