Understanding the Parental Stress of Having a Child With Diabetes
Keeping an ever-vigilant watch on your childâ€™s health and development is part of a loving, caring parentâ€™s job. But when a condition develops that is beyond their control it can leave a parent panic stricken, overwhelmed and even guilty.
If your child develops type 1 diabetes it means that their pancreas is not longer producing the insulin he needs to survive. Parents need to understand that it was nothing they did or didnâ€™t do, that it just happens. But with the advances in todayâ€™s medical care and in the understanding of childhood diabetes, children are living happy and fulfilled lives and their parents are settling into what is considered a â€œnew normalâ€ in their childâ€™s care.
Type 1 diabetes comes on pretty fast. Over a period of a couple weeks a parent will notice that their once vibrant and outgoing child becomes more lethargic and irritable. Weight loss is a symptom which contributes to this. Even though your child appears to be eating, his body is not using the energy from the sugar properly and his muscles and other tissues simply shrink. Increased appetite is also a symptom of diabetes along with increased thirst. A child with type 1 diabetes is often thirsty and frequently urinates because as the increase in sugar builds up in his system, his body will compensate by pulling fluid from his system leaving him constantly feeling thirsty.Â In some cases the fluid will be pulled from the eye and the child will experience blurred vision.
If your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes you will learn to count carbohydrates, monitor his blood sugar, give him any prescribed diabetes medication and learn to give injections when necessary.Â It does require constant vigilant care but again that is part of a parentâ€™s job; managing diabetes with your child becomes your new normal.
It is important to see your childâ€™s physician immediately if your child is experiencing these symptoms. The faster they are diagnosed the faster hisÂ diabetes care will begin and the faster they will be on the healing track and acting just like every other kid!