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Diabetes In Children

Balancing Insulin And Blood Sugar

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 18:21

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Successful management of type 1 diabetes means balancing insulin and blood sugar.

Normally, the body makes insulin when it's needed. Right after meals, it produces enough insulin to process the blood sugar from that meal, moving it out of the blood and into the body's cells. Between meals, the level of insulin drops before it drives blood sugar levels too low.

When the insulin comes from injections, it's harder to maintain levels of insulin that keep blood sugar from going too low, or too high.

High Blood Sugar

If there's not enough insulin to let glucose enter the cells (which is most likely to happen if the child is sick) too much glucose remains in the blood. This can bring back the strong symptoms of diabetes: fatigue, frequent urination, thirst, and a risk of ketoacidosis (a dangerous condition with warning signs that include rapid deep breathing and sweet-smelling breath.

Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can occur if the child has more insulin than usual, has eaten too little food, or has been extra active (exercise helps insulin work better). Hypoglycemia can be unpleasant and even dangerous.

The Good News

With good diabetes control, your child can feel as healthy as any other child and can avoid serious problems from high or low blood sugar.

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