If your child has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes you may well feel overwhelmed and have lots of questions. A good place to start is to speak to your healthcare professional to understand what diabetes is, and what is happening to their body.
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not yet known, however it is thought that certain environmental factors or viruses as well as genetic factors may have an impact. Unlike type 2 diabetes, it cannot be prevented. We also know that the development of type 1 diabetes is not linked with lifestyle, although maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important in helping to manage type 1 diabetes.
Being aware of your child's blood glucose (also called blood sugar) level is a vital part of managing their diabetes and keeping them healthy. It will tell you how well their body is responding to medications, changes in diet and exercise.
People with type 1 diabetes are also at risk of having a more than normal amount of ketones in their blood. The presence of ketones is one of the signs that your child needs medical help. Your diabetes health care professional will guide you in monitoring for ketones.
The HbA1c test is a measure of the average blood glucose (blood sugar) level over the past few months and can be used as an to indicate how well your child's diabetes is under control. Inside the body the glucose (sugar) sticks to the part of the red blood cells called haemoglobin – haemoglobin gives blood cells their red colour. This sugar-haemoglobin combination is called HbA1c.
This sugar-haemoglobin combination is called HbA1c. Once the glucose becomes ‘stuck’ to the red blood cell it stays stuck until the red blood cell dies. This takes about three months. As red blood cells die, new ones are produced. If the new red blood cells don’t end up with glucose stuck to them, because of better blood glucose control, then the overall HbA1c will decrease.
If your child tests their blood glucose or ketones at school, at a friend's house or anytime you are not there, they can share their results with you via smart software.
An app can be set up to send the results to your phone or computer. It is a great way for a child to build confidence testing away from home, while also giving you peace of mind.
If your child has recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes the medical terms used to describe the condition may seem confusing and overwhelming.
Click on the link below to see a list of commonly used diabetes words and their meaning. This may help you better understanding the information you are given, allowing you to have more effective conversations with your health care professional.