November is Diabetes Awareness Month

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Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. If it’s not controlled, diabetes can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and other health problems.

One in 12 Americans has diabetes – that’s more than 25 million people. And another 79 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The good news? People who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes can lower their risk by more than half if they make healthy changes. These changes include: eating healthy, increasing physical activity, and losing weight.

How can American Diabetes Month make a difference?

We can use this month to raise awareness about diabetes risk factors and encourage people to make healthy changes.

Here are just a few ideas:
Encourage people to make small changes, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Talk to people in your community about getting regular checkups. They can get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked, and ask the doctor about their diabetes risk.
Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by speaking about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.

How can I help spread the word?
-Share this post!!

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Do Not Feed the Diabetic: Responding to Holiday Food Offers

Multi Generation Family Celebrating ThanksgivingWe would be grieved to wear a placard or sign that read: I am a diabetic. Do not feed me. Children with Type 1 diabetes would be mortified to wear that sign. Yet, we would be devastated if some “kindly” person with good intentions offered your child something that could harm their health. To be preventative, learn some polite yet firm responses to inevitable food offers.

Scenario 1: Your child’s best friend’s mother wants to give her/him cookies as a snack and you’re not there.

This is simple enough. Once you give permission for the play date, have a private conversation with the other parent and share that your child is Type 1 diabetic and cannot have certain foods. To be polite, share that you don’t want it to be personal, because it is not; it is a matter of your child’s health interests. Offer to send snacks that are acceptable.

Scenario 2: Aunt Louise tries to give your child a sugary snack against your protests.

Thank Aunt Louise in front of your child and tell her that you’ll have to pass this time. Privately, as to embarrass your child or Aunt Louise, tell her that in the future she’s to ask you first and in private. Explain that your child’s health interests are a priority to you, and thank her once again before closing the subject.

Scenario 3: The holiday party at school that has tons of tempting treats.

Begin with a conversation with your child, reminding him or her that eating sugary sweets can make them hospital-stay sick, and you want him/her to be healthy and at home for the holidays. Contact the teacher and remind him/her that your child is diabetic and ask the teacher to closely monitor what your child consumes. Offer to send a couple of treats that are safe for your child to eat.

Scenario 4: Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner with the family.

This would be super easy if you’re the host. You can prepare great desserts and dishes that are good for your child and tasty to your guests. If anyone offers to bring a dessert, politely decline. If you’re having dinner in another home, then leave early and explain to your child that you’re having a special dessert at home. In fact, turn dessert at your home into a new tradition.

Lastly, if your child should receive candy and other treats as a gift, tell them that a condition of letting them have a treat is that you get to help them choose.

Remember, this is about your child’s long-term wellness. They have to maintain healthy habits throughout the holiday season. If you are the parent of a diabetic child, how do you handle any of the above scenarios? Are there other ways to teach your child to refuse food? Please share in the comment section.

 

Healthy Snacks for Diabetic Kids

Apple SlicesDiabetic Lifestyle has an exhaustive and organized list of healthy snacks for diabetic kids. Below is a list of some of those snacks. There is diversity in the offerings that should keep your child from becoming bored with snacks to the point of cheating.

From the bread group:

  • Air-popped popcorn
  • Graham crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Vanilla wafers

From the dairy foods group:

  • Frozen, low-fat, no sugar added yogurt or ice cream
  • Fruit smoothies (made with non-fat yogurt, fruit, skim milk, and ice cubes)
  • String cheese

From the fruits and vegetables groups:

  • Apple wedges
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumber slices
  • Celery sticks stuffed with low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter

Whole food snacks are the best for children, but we know that they are not always satisfactory to a child’s taste buds. You can read the extended list HERE and you can visit this really cool Pinterest board filled with snack suggestions and recipes. Do you have some of your own? Please share in the comment section.

Exercise and Children with Type 1 Diabetes

iStock_000003404804XSmallContrary to popular belief, not all children with Type 1 (Juvenile) diabetes are inactive and obese. Some are quite active, which is wonderful. Still, we should be concerned about children with the disease who lead a sedentary lifestyle as well as learn a few facts for those who are active.

  1. According to Web MD children who take insulin are at risk of hypoglycemia during and after exerciseIt is recommended that blood sugar levels be checked before, during and after exercise.
  2. Do not let your child exercise if blood sugar is over 250 mg/dL or ketones are present.
  1. Make sure your child’s blood sugar is in the target range before exercise-to avoid low blood sugar.
  2. Make sure your child wears identification.
  3. Inject the insulin before exercise in a site other than the parts of the body your child will be using during exercise. For example, if your child will be running, do not inject insulin in the leg.
  4. Your child may eat 15 to 30 grams of quick-sugar food (hard candy, fruit juice, honey) 15 to 30 minutes before exercise.
  5. If your child plays in organized sports, give the coach a list of the symptoms of low blood sugar and instructions about what to do if it occurs.
  6. Have some quick-sugar food (hard candy, fruit juice, honey) on hand at all times. You can also make sure your child’s coach carries quick-sugar foods.

You should read the entire list of facts and how-tos in the article Type 1 Diabetes in Children: Safe Exercise and most important, check with your child’s physician before doing anything.

National Diabetes Awareness Month: Websites for Children with Type 1

The doctor takes from the child blood.Keeping children mindful of their Type 1 diabetes and remaining creative and encouraged as you work to keep them healthy can be hard. There are some great web resources for both kids and parents that offer information, instruction and lots of encouragement. Let’s take a look.

Spoonful by Disney

This is a delightful site as only Disney could produce. You will find interactive games and activities for children as well as helpful hints for parents. There are recipes and craft ideas too.  Disney also has partnered with Lilly to create Type 1 Everyday Magic, a site with even more information and resources, including books for kids.

Children with Diabetes

Children with Diabetes is an online community that is information rich. It is for children, parents and even adults with diabetes. Two of the goals of the community are (1) children will not feel alone with Type 1 and (2) adults and children are given the space to take ownership of the disease for wellness sake.

Parenting Diabetic Kids

This online community hosts a forum for interactive discussions, recipes and menus for children with Type 1, tons of information and profiles of children with Type 1.

Diabetes Kids and Teens – Australia

Yes this site originates from Australia but its content for children is so wonderful that it transcends location and culture. It is interactive and rich with information.

These sites were selected because they are full of useful information and resources. Moreover, they can be good for both children and parents dealing with Type 1 diabetes. Do you know of more? Please let me know in the comment section.

Books by Nicole M. Brown

The Adventures of Nurse Nicole: N is for Nurse

The Adventures of Nurse Nicole: N is for Nurse

The Adventures of Nurse Nicole: Wash Hands

The Adventures of Nurse Nicole: Wash Hands

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