Category Archives: Parenting

High Glucose Levels During Pregnancy: Obese Children

High Glucose Levels During Pregnancy - Obese ChildrenChildhood obesity is one of the most troubling modern problems. It is now known that children of women who had diabetes during pregnancy face a greater than usual risk. In fact, the rate of obesity among children whose mothers had gestational diabetes is roughly double the norm.

One reason a mother’s uncontrolled diabetes can lead to a child’s obesity problems is the extra sugar the child gets in the womb. If the mother has high blood sugar levels, that means that very much glucose is circulating through her system.

The woman’s body is not able to use all this sugar, and that is why it has accumulated in the blood. Yet the baby can use the sugar. As it passes into the baby through the placenta, the sugar is immediately used up by the baby.

The result is that the baby gets fatter than it otherwise would. The fetus is getting more than its daily needs for sugar after all. By keeping her blood sugar levels normal, a woman can keep excess sugar from going to her baby. If she is successful, the baby may be born at a normal weight.

High birth weight is just one of the factors that lead to childhood obesity. Another is that the unhealthy doses of sugar in the womb set up patterns that can stay with a child for life.

These patterns are so ingrained by the time the child is born that it is hard to train them to eat normally. Even if it can be managed during the child’s infancy, things can rapidly change. As soon as the child has more control over the amount of food taken in, they will undoubtedly eat more.

The child’s metabolism is geared to obesity from the start, and without vigorous intervention, the child will become obese in a short amount of time. However, there is something mothers can do about this problem, and it starts during pregnancy.

If pregnant women take their blood sugar readings often, they will have the information they and their doctors need. Next they will work on control that will keep the levels of sugar in the woman’s blood to a minimum. Their babies will be healthy and have less chance of becoming obese in the future.

The pregnant mother’s diet and exercise habits will have a great effect on the later health of the child. If the mother eats healthily, the child is more likely to do the same as he or she grows. It has something to do with the amount of sugar the child is used to ingesting.

If a child has had no more than an acceptable amount of nourishment in the womb, later it is easier for that child to tell when they have had enough. They stop eating when their bodies tell them they are satisfied. On the other hand, a child who has been overfed in the womb will always feel hungry as they grow. This leads to childhood obesity too. Women can take charge of their diabetes control and prevent their children from becoming statistics in the battle against childhood obesity.

Gestational Diabetes Action Plan

Gestational diabetes is essentially Type 2 diabetes as a limited time companion. The expectant mother in gestational diabetes experiences the primary difficulties experienced by many Type 2 patients.

One of the more difficult problems for these moms-to-be is that they are already struggling with a hormone imbalance and the diagnosis of gestational diabetes can be a real emotional blow.

What can be especially hard is that the expectant mother will need to make immediate changes to her diet in order to get back on track.

What happens if the mother avoids remedial action?

  • She risks complications moving forward in her pregnancy. She may experience high blood pressure, large baby at birth, birth defects in her child and premature birth.
  • Her child may be at risk for the development of diabetes and obesity.
  • She may be at risk for the development of type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • The delivery may have to be carried out by caesarean section.

Some women may feel as if they can ignore the issue because gestational diabetes typically goes away following the birth of the baby. However, the problems created in those weeks where the baby continues to grow inside the womb can create long-term problems for both mother and child.

What lifestyle changes should the expectant mom look forward to?
One of the primary changes will be sugar abstinence. Your body is producing large amounts of blood glucose. The pancreas that helps your baby develop is often not producing enough insulin. When your blood sugar levels go up it will also go up in your baby. Your child’s pancreas will similarly work to develop insulin, but because of the high glucose levels the baby will store the excess glucose as fat. This is why the baby will likely be larger than you might have expected.

You may not be forced to endure a sugar fast, but the significant reduction in sugar and the addition of complex carbohydrates can help stabilize your own blood glucose and in turn – your baby’s.

A primary care physician will likely suggest a consultation with a registered dietitian that can work to help provide a list of options to help you gain comfort in the changes you will need to make.

Post pregnancy
Many women experience weight that doesn’t easily go away following pregnancy. It is important for those who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes to work hard at reducing their post pregnancy weight. Losing those pounds may be difficult work, but it could result in keeping type 2 diabetes from developing early in life.

In some cases a preliminary diagnosis of gestational diabetes is revised later. There are those times when a woman’s body expresses diabetes during pregnancy and symptoms remain following the birth. In these cases the plan developed during pregnancy will be extended and revised following the birth of the baby. While this is rare it is something that happens and can provide a unique element to the process of pregnancy.

Many women who have had gestational diabetes will also be at risk for large babies in future pregnancies. They may avoid the problem by managing their pregnancy diet using standard Type 2 diabetic nutritional guidelines.

You will need to remember that gestational diabetes affects both you and your unborn child. While issues may seem short-term your attention to immediate details can help you establish a healthier future for yourself and welcome your child into the world with fewer potential health issues to contend with as they grow to adulthood.

Children And Insulin Pumps

Children And Insulin PumpsThe first use of insulin pumps came in the 1970s when it was used for Type 1 Diabetes. It proved that it could achieve strict glucose control in a selected group of people. Since that time, pumps have become much smaller in size, easier and safer to use, and more durable.

For young children and even infants, an insulin pump may be the best choice for receiving insulin. The use of insulin pumps is continually growing. You never know for sure what a child will do, that includes activities and food intake. Having a pump will help in these everyday unpredictable situations.

Insulin pumps are used to mimic a normally functioning pancreas. As a parent you may be wondering how the pump works. The pump provides a steady line of fast-acting insulin which is called basal insulin. This prevents uncontrolled highs and ketene production. The pump is also used for fast-acting insulin before meals. The dose can be set to the person’s glucose level, the amount of carbohydrates found in the meal, and also by planned activities after the meal.

The pump is about the size of a pager and can easily be carried in your child’s pocket. It works by inserting a small plastic tube under the skin. It is usually put in the areas of the abdomen or buttocks and held with tape. Every three days the tube is changed and a new one is placed in a different area of the body.

There are many advantages for children using insulin pumps. When using a pump, there is less fluctuation between blood glucose which lessens the risk of hypoglycemia. Another advantage is the child only needs one injection site every three days. Having a pump gives the child more freedom to sleep, eat, and do other activities when he or she pleases. One of the best advantages is that using the pump will improve the control of blood glucose which helps avoid the risk of complications in the future.

With all the positives of insulin pumps, there are some disadvantages. Insulin pumps are quite expensive. Not everyone’s health insurance will cover the cost. Another problem with the pump is that some children find the needle more painful than regular insulin needles because the pump needle is larger. Because the pump has to be carried around, some children do not like it because it reminds them of their disease and makes them feel not like their peers.

Many families are used to giving their children multiple injections per day. When choosing the pump, the family will have to learn how to manage the Diabetes differently. Before choosing the pump for your child, do research about it. If your child is old enough, talk to them and see how they would feel about switching to the pump. Also make sure your child’s Diabetes team has experience so they can help through the transition.

Choosing the insulin pump can really change your child’s life. It will give them more independence and freedom to do everyday things. The insulin pump can help your child not have to focus on their disease as much and be a normal kid.

Explaining Diabetes To Your Child

Explaining Diabetes To Your ChildWhen you find out that your child has either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes you might feel a tangle of many emotions. You may be shocked, sad, and even angry at yourself. Realizing that you are not the cause of your child’s Diabetes is the first step. Educating yourself about it will help you be prepared when you talk with your child. This will also help your child manage the disease.

Children that are diagnosed with Diabetes often feel that it is their fault. When discussing Diabetes with your child, it is important to make the child aware that they did not cause the disease. This is especially important when talking to younger children. Be sure that the child understands that Diabetes is not going to go away. He or she may feel sad or angry so let them know that they can talk openly with you about their feelings and fears. You also need to discuss about Diabetes if the child diagnosed has a sibling. The sibling may feel jealous that the attention is on the other child, or may be scared that he or she could also develop Diabetes.

Parents are often the role models for their children. Their outlook in the disease has to do with how you handle it. If you are stressed about Diabetes, your child will most likely be also. If you are positive, it will help your child. You have to use powerful words about Diabetes. Telling the child that if you work together you can keep the Diabetes under control, and the more you actually act that out, the less the disease will affect the child’s everyday life.

It may be difficult to discuss Diabetes with your child at any age. There are some tips that can ease your stress. Infants and Toddlers are too young to explain exactly why you are testing them and giving them insulin. Making a daily routine of when this occurs will make them more aware. Preschoolers will need their parents help. It is best to explain to them what is happening in simple terms. Some parents feel that the child has some control when they can choose where they would like their insulin injection and which finger they want pricked for a blood glucose check.

Children that are in grade school through middle school should be learning how to do some of their Diabetes tasks on their own, but they will still need their parent’s assistance. Children at this age are starting to do their own self-care tasks. It is best to be supportive, and understand that they will not be perfect. By letting the children know that when they take responsibility for their Diabetes, it will be much easier to go to sleepovers, camping trips, and other fun activities.

Teens do not always make the best decisions about their Diabetes because they may feel different from their friends and also may feel it will not affect them if they miss a glucose test. It is best to talk to your teen about drugs, alcohol and sexuality and how they could play a role in their disease. Be supportive instead of lecturing them because they may not take your advice.

At any age, it will probably be very difficult for a child to limit their treats with sugar, especially if everyone else in the household can eat whatever they wish. It would benefit everyone to set up a healthier life-style. This way, the child will not feel punished or like an outsider at home.

Talking honestly and openly is the key when discussing to your child about Diabetes. Doing so will help your child understand about the disease and how he or she can live with it.

How To Help Children Manage Their Diabetes

It is very common these days that children are developing Diabetes. It used to be called Juvenile Diabetes, but Doctors now refer to it as Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. They do this because is has become very common for children to be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes once was only found in adults. Children with Diabetes should not be treated the same as adults because their bodies are still growing and need specific treatment plans.

Once your child has been diagnosed with Diabetes, it is important to concentrate on how to manage the disease. By keeping your child’s blood sugar levels safe, you will help reduce to risk of long-term complications. This also means you will have to teach lifelong values such as checking glucose levels, administering medications, and living a healthy lifestyle. Doing so will help your child for much of their future.

Children who have Type 1 Diabetes cannot produce insulin on their own. Since they cannot, it will have to be received through insulin injections. This usually is two to three shots of insulin a day. Since each child is different there is not a rule stating at what age they can give themselves the injections. Usually by the age of 14, most children can do so on their own. Your child should also keep a log of their blood glucose tests. This helps the Doctors and nurses make the accurate decisions for your child’s Diabetes plan.

Children who take insulin will have to determine how much they are going to eat at a meal and balance their carbohydrate intake with the amount of insulin they took. These requirements will vary depending on the child’s age, weight, and amount of exercise. It is a good idea to make a diet plan based around your child’s classes at school including gym, lunch, and other activities throughout the day. Making sure the child participates in gym class is important because it can help control weight and lower blood sugar levels.

Your child will need to know the symptoms incase someday they go through it. Hypoglycemia is common in children who have Type 1 Diabetes. If they have symptoms they can get their blood sugar levels up by eating a snack with sugar, or drinking juice. Some of the symptoms they should be aware of include dizziness, shakiness, double vision, and a blood glucose level below 70. This way the child will know how to handle the situation in case this happens when you are not there to help them.

Helping your child manage their Diabetes will be beneficial for him or her. They will learn at a young age how to take care of their disease and be able to maintain it. They will have this disease for the rest of their life, but they can sill do pretty much what other kids can. This will help them build confidence and feel not ashamed about their Diabetes. In the long-run it will instill the basics that they will need to know when they are adults. By you helping them manage their Diabetes now, you are planning their future for them. It will be a happy and healthy one for all of you.

Managing Your Childs Diabetes

Being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes can be a life-changing event. This is especially true for children. They can become scared and overwhelmed. As the parent there is suddenly so much information you need to know and keep track of. Their life may never be the same, but with their parent’s help, Diabetes can be manageable. There are a few things that parents should be focused on when dealing with a child with Diabetes.

Your child’s body can no longer produce insulin. This means the insulin has to be replaced several times throughout the day. Usually the insulin is injected. There are a few options when it comes to dosing insulin. Fixed dosages of fast-acting and intermediate are one option. With this type of dose your child will need a meal at the time the insulin peaks. These meals should be scheduled the same time everyday and have the same about of fats, proteins and carbs. Children who take long acting insulin will still need to take fast-acting insulin at meal time. The amount of fast-acting insulin will have to be calculated by how many carbohydrates are in the meal. Another option is for children who use insulin pumps. They will also need a fast-acting insulin dose before their meal which is also determined on the carbohydrates in the meal content.

Testing the child’s blood glucose is extremely important. It should be tested before meals and bedtime. Glucose levels vary by the child’s age. It is recommended to keep a log of the meals, blood glucose levels, and times. This can help manage your child’s Diabetes. You will be able to see the fluctuations and be able to control the glucose levels better.

Low blood sugar, which is also known as hypoglycemia, is very common in children with Type 1 Diabetes. Sometimes the child might not be able to tell that they are becoming hypoglycemic. Typical symptoms include weakness, shakiness, headache, dizziness, and irritability. If the child’s blood sugar is too low a way to raise the level is by having the child drink or eat a concentrated about of sugar, such as half a can of soda which can help raise their level to over 80 mg/dl. It is a great idea to plan ahead. Storing items that have sugar in your purse or in the glove compartment of your car will help incase this may happen while you are not at home.

Making sure the child is eating right is very important. A Doctor or dietitian can help make a plan on the foods that will help your child’s blood sugar not fluctuate, yet also be good for your child as they grow. There is also the option of finding good resources over the internet, but do not let it be the only source of information. Having your child’s Doctor help will be vital because they understand your child’s personal nutritional needs.

Children should still get exercise daily. These activities can lower blood sugar so checking the child’s glucose level before exercising is important. If their blood sugar is low, they should take a break and eat a snack with carbohydrates until their level is back at 80 mg/dl. Parents should inform gym teachers and coaches about their child having Diabetes and that there is a risk of them having a hypoglycemic reaction.

A child with Diabetes can still have a basically normal life. They will need the parent’s help to manage it. Being educated and having plans will make Diabetes a lot easier on everyone. Your child will be able to enjoy life just like before being diagnosed.

Parenting a Child When You are the Diabetic

When we talk about parenting and diabetes in the same article, many believe we are going to talk about how to deal with a child who has Type 1 diabetes and then relate the special skills required to address their medical issues. While that’s a reasonable assumption, I’d like to turn the tables in this article. What if the child has to come to terms with a parent who has Type 2 diabetes?

It can be a little frightening for children to see a parent struggling with diabetes or any other illness for that matter. They may wonder, even if they never ask, if their parent is going to die. They may not understand the daily blood tests or insulin shots. They may feel abandoned without cause. This issue is magnified when the parent is silent on the issue.

Parents are the soldiers who help children march into their own future and if one of them seems to have fallen it can be very hard on one or more of their children to deal with real and imagined possibilities.

One of the first things a newly diagnosed diabetic parent should do is be as open and honest with their children as possible. Answer their questions and help them understand that what you will be doing is working to manage the disease. Help them understand that diabetes is not contagious. Give your children the good news that diabetes is something that patients can live with for many years and that you don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.

Never treat your disease as a taboo subject. When you are more open about what is going on the more accepting your family members will be about the issue. They will be more empathetic about your situation and desire to help you through difficult days.

Many families with a diabetic learn to adapt to a diet that can actually benefit everyone simply because the diabetic diet has health benefits for every member of the family.

In the past parents would often hide medical challenges from their children. Typically those children would be devastated if something happened to their parents especially if they were unaware of an existing, but unspoken problem. It was also frustrating for children if they suspected there was a problem, but it was either denied or covered up.

Children are pretty smart and courageous. They can even act as a diabetic parent’s accountability partner. They might say things like, “Mom, should you really be eating that?” or “Dad, don’t you need to go for a walk? I got my shoes on, where’s yours?”

When your child suffers some illness most parents would do anything to trade their own health for their child’s illness. In the case where the parent suffers the child may really turn out to be a faithful advocate who is vitally interested in the welfare of their parent.

Be open, be honest and be vulnerable. Children already know we parents make mistakes so being able to admit that you are human may not be as great a shock to their system as you might imagine. Their advocacy may be the very thing that can help a parent with diabetes face another day and look forward to life lived with family who courageously demonstrate love and concern for every member of the family.

The Impact of Childhood Diabetes on a Family

When a sibling is diagnosed with diabetes in adulthood there are certain emotions that may be seen in siblings that do not have the disease. There may be questions about whether they will be next or they may simply feel a profound empathy for their brother or sister. In most cases an adult diagnosis does not radically stress sibling bonds.

But what happens when a sibling is diagnosed when they are young?

This scenario can be radically different. Siblings who watch a brother or sister struggle with diabetes are subject to a wide range of emotions that can impact them for years. Much of their internal struggles will come from a lack of understanding about what is happening to their diabetic sibling and why they now seem to gain all the family attention.

While they may initially be sympathetic and helpful a healthy sibling might ultimately become openly hostile about the perceived lack of attention they are given.

It is true that children who have diabetes will require more attention simply because there will be medical details to attend to such as blood glucose checks and the administration of diabetes medications. This can be perceived by healthy siblings as something that takes the attention of parents away from them.

Swings in blood sugar can mean a radically different response from a diabetic sibling. Low blood sugar can cause them to be irritable while high blood sugar can cause them to be over stimulated.

You shouldn’t think this is a problem only siblings deal with. The truth is this can be difficult for parents as well. These parents may be struggling to make ends meet while observing the difficulties their healthy child(ren) have with determining where they fit.

As much as children and parents hate to admit it there will come times when they feel as if they have become lost in the illness of the diabetic in their life. They may hate themselves for feeling this way, but they will temporarily conclude that it is not fair that they must give up so much for the sake of one family member. They may believe the illness has driven a wedge between what they once enjoyed and a life that has radically altered since the diagnosis was made.

The diabetic will have no reasonable ability to manage their personal care alone. This is why education is so important to families in transition.

The more parents and healthy siblings know about diabetes the better prepared they will be to deal emotionally with the change in dynamics within the family.

Families have been torn apart by diabetes. Parents will blame themselves while refusing to talk to each other about what they are feeling. Children will learn to find ways to avoid issues when they know they are sensitive to other family members. For some families there is an atmosphere that only seems to allow the family to live under the same roof with little emotional energy to tie them together.

This can be avoided when families work together to find ways to meet the needs of both the diabetic child as well as the healthy children living under the same roof.

In order to successfully adapt to life with diabetes there will need to be an intentional investment from every member of the family to work through the issues and emotions that will come up. That means no glossing over issues and a healthy respect for the feelings of every member of the family.

The Diabetic Benefit of Breastfeeding

Research has been pretty definitive – when new mothers breastfeed their newborns there is substantial health benefits for the baby. New research indicates the health benefits may be as strong for the mother as the child.

According to WebMD researchers at Kaiser Permanente. “Breastfeeding was shown to significantly lower a woman’s risk for developing metabolic syndrome.”

This report indicates the longer the mother breastfed their newborn the more protection the mother received from metabolic syndrome.

The reason this is important for those who may develop diabetes is that Metabolic Syndrome is a combination of conditions that can indicate a certain risk or propensity for disease development. The Mayo Clinic provides some clarity. “Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, excess body fat around the waist or abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“Having just one of these conditions isn’t diagnosed as metabolic syndrome, but it does contribute to your risk of serious disease. If more than one of these conditions occur in combination, your risk is even greater.

“If you have metabolic syndrome or any of the components of metabolic syndrome, aggressive lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems.”

The WebMD report looks at what outcomes were encountered by those involved in the study. “Researchers examined data on 704 women who were followed for two decades, starting before their first pregnancy.

“Because the women were enrolled in a larger heart disease risk study, the researchers had information on wide range of health and lifestyle factors. None of the women had metabolic syndrome at enrollment, but 120 developed the condition during the 20 years of follow-up.”

Perhaps one of the greatest statistics released was for those who experienced gestational diabetes. If the mother breastfed for more than 9 months there is a reported 86% reduction in the risk for metabolic syndrome. In other words the overall risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes was just 14% if the mother agreed to breastfeed their infant when they were diagnosed with gestational diabetes while pregnant.

Breastfeeding for two months or less provided only marginal benefit while the more extended biological feedings demonstrated a much more profound disease risk reduction for the mother.

An extensive report on the subject is scheduled to be released in the journal, Diabetes in February 2010.

This study also looked at the potential link between breastfeeding and belly fat. It indicates that mothers who breastfeed seem to experience two additional benefits. The first is an overall health benefit that allows them to maintain better and more normal health. The second is a much faster reduction in post pregnancy weight. The weight loss may be instrumental in long-term weight management. That could mean a lower incidence of diabetes because excess weight is linked to the onset of diabetes.

According to WebMD a Harvard study in 2005 looked at 160,000 female nurses and concluded, “That each year of breastfeeding is associated with a 15% reduction in diabetes risk within the next 15 years.”

This effectively means that a mother with 3 children could reducer her risk of diabetes by 45% if she breastfed each child for one year following delivery.

You’ve always heard breastfeeding could be an important health aid to your child. Perhaps the benefits can provide greater overall health for you as well.