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Overview

Diabetes in Children: Treatment, Cost and Side Effects

What is Diabetes in Children?

Diabetes in Children is a Type 1 diabetes, also known as Juvenile diabetes. Diabetes is generally characterized by the less secretion of Insulin from the Pancreas. Insulin is a peptic hormone which is produced by the Beta cells in the Islets of Langerhans in the Pancreas. Insulin helps to absorb the sugar (glucose) from the food we eat (Carbohydrates), to produce energy or to store it up for future usage. Insulin is also responsible in maintaining the Blood sugar level from getting too low, which is known as Hypoglycemia or getting too high, which is known as Hyperglycemia. The primary treatment for diabetes in children consists of Insulin, in addition to diet and exercise. The insulin hormone can be delivered in various forms like needles or syringes, Insulin pen, or Insulin pump. Severe lack of insulin in the body may lead to the child developing diabetic ketoacidosis, where the body produces excess ketone buildups which are released through urine. Juvenile diabetes is a serious condition and requires lifelong treatment. Strict diet and physical activity should be followed regularly. Insulin is essential for juvenile diabetics to survive. Insulin therapy includes different types of insulin injections like rapid acting insulin using insulin such as Humalog, which starts working within 15 minutes, Short acting Insulin like the Human Insulin (Humulin R), Intermediate acting Insulin, like NPH insulin (Humulin N) and long acting Insulin like Lantus and Levemir. The type of insulin injection depends upon the age and weight of the child. Nowadays, due to change in dietary habits and lifestyle children are also prone to develop Type 2 diabetes. Pancreas replacement surgery is also a treatment method which can eliminate the requirement for insulin injections. But this is a very rare surgery and has various risks linked to it, so very few people opt for it. This surgery is opted when the person needs a kidney replacement also.

How is the treatment done?

The treatment is done with insulin, aiming at maintenance of normal blood sugar levels. The basic treatment includes taking the prescribed amount of insulin. It is the only medicine that can help maintain the blood sugar at a normal level. Since the pancreas, secretes a low amount of Insulin, the additional insulin injections prescribed, helps to absorb the glucose for energy and storage, thereby maintaining a healthy blood sugar range. Most kids may need two or more injections per day to maintain their sugar levels. Insulin cannot be taken as a pill because the digestive juices and acids in the stomach can break down the insulin pill and destroy it. The insulin injection is generally shot into the fatty layer like the abdomen, thighs or buttocks .

Eating a healthy diet on time is also an important aspect of treatment. The diet should be balanced and must contain all the required nutrients that are essential for the body. There must be regular monitoring of the blood sugar levels and the diet or treatment must be changed accordingly. It is suggested that children with diabetes should check their blood sugar level with a blood glucose meter, at least 4 times a day. Maintaining a healthy body weight by regular exercise and physical activity also helps to keep blood sugar level under control. Pancreas transplant surgery can also be performed for type 1 diabetes but it is not very common.

Who is eligible for the treatment?(When is the treatment done ?)

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus in children is an insulin dependent diabetes. There is no cure for this juvenile onset diabetes. The children who are suffering from juvenile diabetes are eligible for treatment using insulin because their pancreas either cannot make any insulin or it secretes a very low amount of insulin. Treatment is necessary when the blood sugar level of the child deviates from normal, which may lead to hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia or ketoacidosis.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Children who have a normal blood sugar level and are non diabetic need not undergo any treatment for diabetes. The normal blood sugar level is said to be 80 to 120 mg per 100 ml of blood, with slight variations during fasting. Some people may be allergic to insulin which may lead to rashes in the place where the insulin was injected. There may be delayed as well as immediate allergic reactions to insulin in some people. People with this rare condition of insulin allergy may not be eligible for treatment and may have to either switch the brand of insulin they are allergic to or must go in for some alternative method of treatment.

Are there any Side Effects?

There are some side effects like increase in weight, increased thirst and increase in urination. There are also various side effects associated with Metformin, which is the drug approved by FDA as a glucose lowering medication. Some of the common side effects of this drug include nausea, upset stomach and diarrhea. In some cases, it leads to a serious side effect condition known as lactic acidosis, which is caused by the build up of excess lactic acid in the blood. People with abnormal kidney functioning are more prone to this disorder.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The treatment for diabetes in children is generally a life long process. So the guidelines are not essentially post treatment, but must be followed along with the treatment. The children must always be provided with a balanced diet along with regular insulin intake. The amount of carbohydrates entering the body must be closely watched and the blood sugar levels should be checked several times a day. The child can use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) which can be worn and measures the blood sugar level, several times a day. Getting regular physical activity is also an important guideline in maintaining normal blood sugar level. Regular exercise and therapy are very much essential to have a normal blood sugar level and also reduces the risks of chronic illnesses such as heart diseases. It also helps the kids to keep their heart, lungs and blood vessels, healthy. The glycosylated hemoglobin test or the HbA1c test must be checked regularly to keep track of the blood sugar level.

How long does it take to recover?

Juvenile diabetes is a life long condition and cannot be recovered from, or cured completely. The sugar levels can only be maintained at a healthy range with the help of insulin, diet and exercise.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The treatment for diabetes is generally considered affordable in India, when compared to the rest of the world. But diabetes treatment can also be expensive, depending upon the type of treatment involved, especially for a normal middle class or lower class family in India. A study states that, for a family with a diabetic child, almost 35% of the income is spent on the treatment. The average monthly treatment ranges from Rs3000 to Rs8000 with extra doctor consultation fee and regular lab tests. The price for medicines and insulin will generally be around Rs6000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

No. The treatment for diabetes does not necessarily provide permanent results. The results can vary from individuals depending upon the type of diabetes and treatment.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Complementary and Alternative Therapy (CAM) is a famous alternative treatment to diabetes, followed by some people, even though there is very few evidence whether these methods are effective. Herbs, supplements and relaxation techniques are used as alternatives to treatment. Prayer is also regarded as an alternative method to support treatment. There may be numerous hazards linked to alternative therapy. Homeopathic treatment for diabetes is an effective alternative method of treatment which has cured many cases of diabetes in children.

Safety: Medium Effectiveness: Medium Timeliness: Medium Relative risk: Low Side Effects: Low Time for Recovery: High Price Range: 6,000 to 10,000 INR per month

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Popular Questions & Answers

Hi, I am 8 years old having diabetes taken insulin still hai every time im asking any doctor have solution for kids debates so I can book appointment and com to India.

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Table of Content

What is Diabetes in Children?

How is the treatment done?

Who is eligible for the treatment?(When is the treatment done ?)

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Are there any Side Effects?

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

How long does it take to recover?

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

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