Author Question: Juvenile Diabetes

Carol Asks:

I have a 5y/o girl who was recently diagnosed with diabetes.

Is it possible to need insulin sometimes but not others if she’s eaten “correctly”? Does stress play a role? What is she has lunch at noon and doesn’t get another real meal for at least 24 hours? Maybe some crackers, granola/protein bar, peppermints,etc but she’s trapped in a post-Katrina-esque situation from about 1700 until the next afternoon/early evening.

She has a pediatrician with her. How often would he need to check her blood sugar during that time? How often would she need insulin?

Jordyn Says:

A diabetic always needs insulin. They cannot live without it (Type I or juvenile diabetes). Basically, their body is not producing insulin anymore. Insulin carries sugar from your blood to the inside of the cell where it is used for cellular energy. In the absence of glucose, the body will begin to burn fat and muscle for energy. This leads to a build up of acid in the blood and evidence of this is ketones spilling over into her urine.

Diabetics typically check their blood sugar before each meal and before bed time. Some diabetics check their blood sugar up to eight times a day. Usually, they look at what they’re going to eat and decide how much insulin they need to “cover” themselves. Even if they don’t have insulin and are not eating– their blood sugars will still go up. Typically, diabetics are using insulin pumps that will give them a small but continous dose of insulin all the time but it really depends on the age of the patient and parental involvement to decide if an insulin pump would be a good idea. Also, when diabetics are newly diagnosed, it is hard to get them regulated.

Your pediatrician is going to have to stay on top of things– particularly if they are stuck in a situation where the child doesn’t have insulin– she’s going to get sick and it could happen pretty fast.  

Check out some previous posts I did concerning diabetes.

Diabetes Primer Part I and Part II.

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