Research Paper: Diabetes in School Children

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Diabetes in School Children

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disease where a person has high blood glucose as a result of inadequate production of insulin or when the cells in the body are unable to respond appropriately to insulin production. The three main symptoms of high blood sugar are frequent urination, referred to as polyuria, becoming increasingly thirsty, referred to as polydipsia, and frequent hunger, referred to as polyphagia. Other less common symptoms include lethargy, blurred vision, hyperventilation or fast breathing, abdominal pain, nausea, joint pain, and glycosuria. Diabetes is thought to be the fastest growing long-term lifestyle disease in the world. Statistics estimate that about twenty million people in the world are unaware of having the disease Vito et al. 650.

In the United States, just over 25 million people have diabetes, with a further 7 million having undiagnosed diabetes. About 2 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in persons under 20 years of age. There are three types of diabetes. These are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes Chamany et al. 549()

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce sufficient quantities of insulin. Often, it is referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes, early-onset diabetes, or juvenile diabetes. This type of diabetes usually develops in people in early adulthood or in their teenage years, often before their 40th birthday. It is not as common as type 2 diabetes but it estimates show that about 10% of all cases of diabetes are type 1 diabetes. The remedy for type 1 diabetes is insulin injections, which the people suffering from the disease often have to administer to themselves when they begin to feel the symptoms of the disease. The patients also have to exercise a preventative remedy, which involves ensuring that they maintain the proper levels of glucose in their blood. They achieve this by sticking to a special diet and taking regular blood tests. Over the last decade, that the prevalence of type 1 diabetes in persons aged less than 20 years is said to have risen by almost 25%.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce sufficient amount of insulin or the body's cells are unable to react to insulin produced, a phenomenon known as insulin resistance. Ninety percent of diabetes cases worldwide are estimated to be type 2 diabetes. Common remedies for type 2 diabetes include losing weight, exercising as often as possible, monitoring blood glucose levels, and eating a healthy diet. However, unlike other types of diabetes, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse with time. The patient often has to take insulin, often in tablet form. People who are overweight and obese are often at higher risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those with healthy weights and diets. Other risk factors include belly fat (abdominal obesity) and visceral fat (central obesity). Often, the body's metabolic and cardiovascular systems are destabilized by the release of chemicals when one is overweight or obese, a major reason is for the increased risk Svensson et al. 431.

Unlike type 1 diabetes, the risk of type 2 diabetes increases as we age. Experts tend to think that it is because people tend to add weight and reduce their physical activity as they age. Another important risk factor is low testosterone levels in men, which is associated with insulin resistance.

Gestational diabetes

This type of diabetes often affects pregnant women. During pregnancy, women often have high levels of blood glucose and their bodies are unable to produce sufficient amount of insulin to transport the glucose to the cells for storage. This results to high levels of blood glucose. Diet and exercise can control this type of diabetes. However, about ten to twenty percent of women diagnosed with gestational diabetes may need to take some medications to control their blood glucose level. If it goes undiagnosed or uncontrolled, gestational diabetes can increase the risk of pregnancy complications and the baby being oversize. Women who often have a high animal fat and high cholesterol diet before becoming pregnant are often at higher risk of developing gestational diabetes Linn and Novosat 148()

Incidences in children

In a study to determine the incidence of type 1 diabetes per 100,000 people, per year in children under the age of 14 years, the authors found that the incidence of diabetes in children was generally increasing. The age-adjusted incidence of type 1 diabetes ranged from 0.1 new cases per 100,000 per year in Venezuela and China to 36.8 per 100,000 per year in Sardinia and 36.5 per 100,000 per year in Finland. The incidence varied by continent. In Europe, half of the countries studied had an intermediate incidence while the other have had high or very high incidence. The authors defined a very high incidence as more than 20 cases per 100,000 per year. As a result of these findings, the authors suggested that ethnic and racial distribution play a role in influencing the incidence of diabetes in the world. However, the general trend was an increase in incidence of type 1 diabetes globally.

Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC&P) support these findings. According to the CDC&P, diabetes is among the most common chronic diseases that occur in children and adolescents. More than 13,000 young people are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year. Often when a new incidence of diabetes is found in persons aged below 20 years, it is thought to be type 1 diabetes which is referred to as juvenile-onset diabetes. However, the incidence of type 2 diabetes has also been on the rise in the U.S. Children and adolescents aged between 10 and 19 years feature in incidence of type 2 diabetes. However, the key factor in these incidences is obesity Trasande et al. 160

( ADDIN EN.CITE; Lazar 374)

. The findings of the CDC&P show that there are no significant differences between ethnicities in incidence of type 2 diabetes though it is more common in non-white groups. This difference can be attributed to differences in eating habits and exercise practices.

Special medical needs

Children with diabetes often have special medical needs. These are because they need to control blood glucose levels through insulin and glucagon administration, to stick to specific diets at specific times, and to engage in high activity sports in order to reduce blood glucose levels. Often children with diabetes need to get insulin injections to control their blood glucose levels and to eat snacks to prevent hypoglycemia, which is the condition when there is little amount of glucose in the blood. Often the child may also need a glucose tablet or a soft drink to increase their blood sugar levels. After a reaction to low blood sugar, diabetic children often need to rest. Therefore they need a stow blanket and pillow to relax after such reactions Valde 219()

Daily care for school aged children

In the school and day-care setting, there is need for special care to be provided to children with diabetes to ensure their safety, long-term well-being, and optimal academic and extra-curricular performance. To achieve proper management of children with diabetes, it is important for their blood glucose to be monitored frequently. Proper care of school-going or day care children can be provided when personnel have an appropriate understanding of diabetes and they are well trained on how to manage and treat it.

In order to manage diabetes in school aged children, the parent or guardian should alert the school's management or day care provider that their child is diabetic. This will ensure that the school personnel understand what is happening in the child and that they understand their role in ensuring quality outcomes for the child. The parent should ensure they provide enough supplies such as insulin and glucagon emergency kits, materials for testing blood glucose levels, urine and blood ketones. The parent should also inform the school administration on special diet needs of their child, which will ensure blood glucose levels are maintained at normal levels. The school personnel will be involved in monitoring the blood glucose levels of the child, administration of insulin in emergency settings and providing special meals and snacks to maintain the blood glucose levels Keim 245.

The school's administration will also provide the student with time and permission to seek medical help upon request, to eat a snack anywhere in order to maintain blood glucose levels and to use the restroom more frequently than other students to relieve themselves Nguyen et al. 538()

Monitoring blood glucose levels

It is important to monitor blood glucose levels in diabetic children in order to be aware of changes that are happening in the body and thus be able to control any emergencies before they hit. In most cases, it is essential to check their blood glucose levels before breakfast, lunch, dinner and at bedtime. However, this schedule will change from day-to-day depending on the level of activity and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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