Children with Diabetes Should be Warned Not To Smoke

January 24th, 2011

Doctors are being urged to ask juvenile diabetes patients about their smoking habits, and to advise them to stop if they are smokers. Diabetes and smoking are both risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which puts diabetics who smoke at particular risk.

But many young people with diabetes report that their doctors have never asked them whether or not they are smokers. Yet about 17% of diabetics aged 15 to 19 smoke. As 90% of smokers start before the age of 18 (the Journal of Pediatrics reports that 5.5% of children with diabetes aged 10 to 14 in one study were already smokers), the early years are an important time to stress the risk of smoking, especially for diabetes patients.

Teen-aged type 1 diabetics who smoke tend to be less physically active, and to have higher blood pressure and higher LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides than diabetic youth who are non-smokers. All are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. "Smoking is an avoidable risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease," stresses Kristi Reynolds, PhD from the health care organization Kaiser Permanente, "Youth and children with diabetes, regardless of type, should be targeted for aggressive smoking prevention and cessation programs."

Over 186,000 young people under 20 have diabetes. Most of them have type 1 diabetes, also referred to as juvenile diabetes because it often begins in childhood. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease in which a misguided immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone which controls the amount of glucose (or blood sugar), the basic fuel for the body's cells, in the blood. People with type 1 diabetes make little or no insulin, and must rely on insulin injections to control their blood sugar. Type 1 usually occurs in people under 40.

About 10% of diabetics are type 1 diabetics. The other 90% of diabetics have type 2 diabetes, a condition in which the body either does not produce enough insulin, or can not properly use the insulin it does produce. Type 2 diabetes is connected to obesity and usually affects adults over 45, but type 2 diabetes in childrenis becoming increasingly common as Americans' weight soars.

Type 1 diabetics must control their condition with diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and a combination of short and long acting insulin. Diabetes type 2 treatment begins with changes in diet and regular exercise, but patients may require the use of diabetes medication as the disease progresses. Thankfully for today's youth with juvenile diabetes, insulin injection has been made easier in recent years with the introduction of the discreet and convenient insulin pen.

Special Infant Formula May Reduce Risk of Diabetes Antibodies

January 25th, 2011

Diabetic parents may want to feed their babies special easily digested infant formula to lessen their risk of developing antibodies associated with type 1 diabetes. Recent research has shown that particular diabetes antibodies (specialized immune system proteins that detect and attack foreign substances in the body) can be a strong predictor of the eventual onset of type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which antibodies mistakenly attack and destroy insulin producing islet cells in the pancreas. No longer able to produce their own insulin, which is necessary to control the blood sugar that is vital to feeding the body's cells, type 1 diabetics must rely on lifelong insulin injections.

Five antibodies have been identified as predictors of type 1 diabetes, most significantly glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 antibodies (GADA), islet cell antibodies (ICA), and insulin antibodies. Those who test positive for at least two of these diabetes antibodies have a 50 to 100 percent risk of developing the disease in the next 5 to 10 years. Ninety five percent of children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes have high levels of GADA and ICA.

Diabetes antibody research should be special interest to those with a family history of diabetes because of the role genetics plays in the disease. Someone with a first degree family member (such as a parent or sibling) with diabetes is at increased risk of also developing it. It's believed that the tendency to develop diabetes antibodies is at least partially genetically inherited.

A pilot study for a large, ongoing international study called TRIGR (trial to reduce insulin dependent diabetes in those genetically at risk) looked at whether early weaning and exposure to complex proteins in traditional cow's milk formula puts children at increased risk of developing diabetes. The study tracked 230 children with a family history of type 1 diabetes for ten years. The children were divided into two groups. One group was fed regular baby formula from the age of 6 to 8 months, and the other a more easily digestible hydrolyzed formula in which the protein were already broken down. Those fed the hydrolyzed formula developed almost 50% fewer type 1 diabetes antibodies than those fed regular formula. Final results of the large TRIGR study are expected to be released in 2017.

Although great progress has been made in diabetes treatment in recent years, particularly in diabetes medications, parents are still devastated at a diagnosis of juvenile diabetes. Although hydrolyzed formula is more expensive than traditional baby formula, it's a small cost to pay if it can help prevent the development of diabetes in children.

Adjusting to Life With Childhood Diabetes

March 14th, 2011

It's hard enough to cope with parenting an adolescent, and if you throw juvenile diabetes into the mix it may feel impossible. Educate yourself, make a plan with your diabetes team, and keep lines of communication open between you and your child, and you can go back to disagreeing about things like dating and borrowing the car.

Signs and Symptoms

Because of the changes your child will experience with puberty, the signs and symptoms may be difficult to recognize, so regular check-ups are important. Type 1 diabetes usually shows up at 10 to 12 years of age in girls and around 12 to 14 years of age in boys, but may present earlier or later. Some of the symptoms of diabetes in children are:

  • Fatigue
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased thirst and frequent urination
  • Irritability

If you notice these signs in your child, it is important to talk to your doctor so that she can run tests. If the tests confirm that your child has diabetes, he may need to go straight to the hospital to get help stabilizing his blood sugar levels. Your doctor and other health care professionals will work with you to make a plan to maintain those healthy blood sugar levels. This may include diabetes medication, insulin injections and diet and exercise changes.

Making Changes

As you make the necessary lifestyle changes continue to talk to your child so that he is aware of what he needs to do, and more importantly, why he needs to do it. Giving him the tools and information he needs to fully understand the situation will help him to make healthy decisions down the road.

Ease into the changes so that the transition is not too jolting. If your child is inactive, start with small amounts of activity as a family every day. Buy whole grain products instead of white flour, and try to incorporate vegetables or fruit at all meals.

Attitude

Stay calm when discussing your child's diabetes with him. Instead of focusing on what he won't be able to do, or all the things that will change, focus on all the things that he will continue to be able to do. He will still be able to have fun with his friends, play sports and go to school. Get him involved in meal planning and, when you and your child feel he is ready, let him do his own insulin injections. If he feels he still has independence it will make the adjustments easier on everyone.

Diabetes in Children: Adjusting to Life with Juvenile Diabetes

March 29th, 2011

It's hard enough to cope with parenting an adolescent, and if you throw juvenile diabetes into the mix it may feel impossible. Educate yourself; make a plan with your diabetes team, and keep the lines of communication open between you and your child, and you can go back to disagreeing about things like dating and borrowing the car.

Signs and Symptoms

Because of the changes your child will experience with puberty, the signs and symptoms of diabetes in children may be difficult to recognize, so regular check-ups are important. Type 1 diabetes usually shows up at 10 to 12 years of age in girls and around 12 to 14 years of age in boys, but may present earlier or later. Some of the symptoms of juvenile diabetes are:

  • Fatigue
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased thirst and frequent urination
  • Irritability

If you notice these signs in your child, it is important to talk to your doctor so that she can run tests. If the tests confirm childhood diabetes, he may need to go straight to the hospital to get help stabilizing his blood sugar levels. Your doctor and other health care professionals will work with you to make a plan to maintain those healthy blood sugar levels. This may include diabetes medication, insulin injections and diet and exercise changes.

Making Changes

As you make the necessary lifestyle changes, continue to talk to your child so that he is aware of what he needs to do, and more importantly, why he needs to do it. Giving him the tools and information he needs to fully understand childhood diabetes will help him to make healthy decisions down the road.

Ease into the changes so that the transition is not too jolting. If your child is inactive, start with small amounts of activity as a family every day. Buy whole grain products instead of those made from white flour, avoid sugary foods, and try to incorporate vegetables or fruit at all meals.

Attitude

Stay calm when discussing juvenile diabetes with your child. Instead of focusing on what he won't be able to do, or all the things that will change, focus on all the things that he will continue to be able to do. He will still be able to have fun with his friends, play sports and go to school. Get him involved in meal planning and, when you and your child feel he is ready, let him do his own insulin injection. Many children find the newer insulin pens

easier to use than the traditional insulin syringes. If he feels he still has independence it will make the adjustments easier on everyone.

Click >here< for some advice from teen superstar Nick Jonas, who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 13.

New Recommendations for Diagnosing Diabetes in Children

May 27th, 2011

Unfortunately, the easiest way to measure long-term glucose levels to diagnose diabetes in children - the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test, may not be the most effective method.

An article in the Journal of Pediatrics comparing HbA1c screening and the fasting plasma glucose test (which must be administered after an 8 hour fast) warns that the HbA1c test is less sensitive in children than it is in adults.

"You don't want to rely on just this test to diagnose a child with diabetes," says pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Joyce Lee, "The HbA1c test just doesn't perform as well in children as it does in adults." Lee worries that cases of diabetes in children could be missed, and advices the test be used only in conjunction with other tests to diagnose juvenile diabetes.

The HbA1c test is quite accurate in adults, but it's believed that changing hormone levels could skew the results in boys and girls. Although more difficult to administer, the glucose tolerance test is still the "gold standard" to detect diabetes in children, says Dr. Gerald Bernstein of the Beth Israel Medical Centre's Friedman Diabetes Institute.

To read more about the latest information on diagnosing children with diabetes on WebMD, >CLICK HERE.<

New Blood Sugar Meter Rewards Children with Diabetes for Testing Regularly

August 2nd, 2011

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children, and the incidence of juvenile diabetes is growing. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 215,000 children and youth have diabetes. Most of them are type 1 diabetics, but more children are being diagnosed with type 2. This increase in type 2 diabetes in children is being attributed to poor diet, not enough physical activity, and resulting weight gain.

A new blood sugar meter designed for kids can actually make glucose testing fun. The Bayer Didget Meter has a five second testing time, a large easy to read screen, and a selectable post meal reminder to prompt children to test their blood sugar levels after eating.

Perhaps its best element is the feature that it adds a fun factor for children who glucose test regularly by rewarding them with free Nintendo DS games. To see a picture of and read more about the Bayer Didget Meter on diabetic live, >CLICK HERE.<