November 16, 2013
The worst part about having a child with type 1 diabetes is not the daily management of the disease. It is not the fact that other parents think you made your child sick by feeding him or her candy bars. It is not the careful planning that goes into play dates and sleepovers. It is not the constant worry when he or she is disconnected from their pump while playing sports. It is not getting used to the taste of diet pop. It is not learning how to calculate the carbohydrates in Grandma’s apple dumplings.
Those things are no fun. They definitely add to your stress level on a daily basis. However, the worst part is thinking about what’s coming. It is recognizing that with each blood sugar fluctuation, your child’s eyes, extremities, kidneys, and other organs are being damaged. The body was simply not designed to operate under conditions of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.
As a parent, you cannot help but be frustrated. You feel a sense of helplessness. You know that blood sugar fluctuations are dangerous, but it is hard to convey that to your child. Up until this point, it has been difficult to quantify. redOrbit writer Lee Rannals details a new urine test that could help identify children and adolescents who are type 1 diabetics and are at risk for developing kidney and heart disease. He states that 40 percent of young type 1 diabetics are at risk for both kidney and heart disease.
Identifying those at risk is the first step. But, it is more important to have a plan of action. Researchers are curious to see whether or not intervention treatment could prevent these future problems. I hate the idea of a kid taking heart medication, but, if it prevents further deterioration of necessary organs, I think that it should be encouraged.
Diabetes treatment has come a long way from the first insulin injection. However, until there is a cure, we need to seek ways to ensure a long and healthy life for individuals with this disease. If this becomes an available treatment option, it could improve future quality of life for the child and current quality of life for the parent.
For example, some type 1 diabetics experience a “rebellious stage.” Throughout this stage, they neglect their type 1 diabetes and pretend as if it does not exist. This terrifies parents, because they understand the consequences of managing the disease. Damage to internal organs is not a joking matter. However, young type 1 diabetics often struggle to understand the implications of their neglect. They are resentful of the past and present, but do not consider the future.
This test could illustrate the future. It would measure albumin levels and assess risk for future complications. Perhaps this analysis could speak to a rebellious Type 1. I am not advocating for the scare tactic, however, I think a healthy understanding is important. Often, kids get sick of listening to their parents. But it is hard to argue with a medical test.
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