Pediatrics: Happy and active with diabetes
The number of people who develop diabetes is increasing. More and more children are also affected. And not just type 2, the more common type of diabetes, but also type 1. Thanks to medical progress, young patients can lead a normal life. Experts explain what to look out for.
More and more children with diabetes
According to the German Diabetes Association, more than six million people suffer from diabetes in Germany alone; among them also many minors: As the University Clinic Freiburg writes in a message, around 30,000 children and adolescents under the age of 19 are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in Germany, and the trend is rising. Thanks to medical progress, young patients can usually lead a normal life today. Hospital experts explain what to look out for.
Measure blood sugar regularly
"Unlike in the past, we can encourage children and adolescents who are sick that their life with all the challenges in school, work, sport and travel can go on almost as before," says Professor Dr. Ute Spiekerkötter.
"Every beginning is difficult, and the patients first have to learn a lot about their illness," explains the medical director of the Clinic for General Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at the University Medical Center Freiburg.
Blood sugar has to be measured regularly and insulin injected. However, the nutritional recommendations today are the same as in children of the same age without diabetes.
“If the children and young people know their own illness well, they regain their independence. This is particularly important for young people affected, ”said Spiekerkötter.
Overall, new medical developments such as blood sugar sensors and insulin pumps for children have brought great relief to those affected.
Pay attention to the diet
At the top of the tips for everyday life with diabetes is a healthy diet.
"Children with diabetes can eat anything, even sugar," says Professor Dr. Karl Otfried Schwab, senior physician at the Clinic for General Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at the University Medical Center Freiburg and Head of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology.
However, it is important to check the blood sugar levels exactly and to adjust the amount of insulin. This can be a challenge, especially in an unfamiliar environment, for example when traveling.
“At Freiburg University Hospital, we like to use a sensor, especially for children, that continuously measures blood sugar in the subcutaneous fat on the abdomen or arm. That way they have to prick a lot less, ”explains Schwab.
In addition, exercise is particularly important for affected children. "Promote your child's natural urge to move," the diabetologist recommends to all affected parents.
Excess glucose is broken down during sports, but also when romping around with friends.
The following also applies here: "As long as you keep a close eye on blood sugar levels, children and adolescents can spend themselves to their hearts' content."
What to do if you have low or high sugar
"It is important to recognize the warning signs of low blood sugar in order to react correctly," says Spiekerkötter. Early warning signs include pallor around the mouth and nose, sweating, rapid pulse and tremors, and restlessness.
“Hypoglycemia can be eliminated quickly with carbohydrates that go straight to the blood. It is easiest to eat glucose or drink fruit juice, ”advises Spiekerkötter.
If the blood sugar is too high, you will feel thirsty or urge to urinate frequently.
"Also inform teachers, kindergarten teachers and other caregivers about your child's illness so that they too can react correctly in an emergency," says the pediatrician. (ad)