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Understanding Your Child’s Type 1 Diabetes

I’m not sure about you, but when I came home from the hospital crash course, when my then 4 year old was diagnosed, my focus was on carbs and insulin and calculations! I was in survival mode. But. Understanding Your Child’s Type 1 Diabetes really takes a lot more than just counting carbs, and giving insulin.  Acting as an organ in your child’s body is HARD work.

Understanding your child's type 1 diabetes starts with how the human body functions.

I am assuming we were all shown a drawing like this at diagnosis, yes? Or something similar. And explained that this was diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes What Happens Diagram

Photograph of diagram taken from the book “Understanding Diabetes” by H. Peter Chase, MD and David M. Maahs, Md, PhD.

Well, whether you’re here because your child is recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, or you’ve been at it for a little while yet and just don’t feel like you kno w what you should – something like white knuckling it, this may be the foundation you are/have been missing!

I randomly found the following videos one day, about 4 or 5 months after my son’s diagnosis, when I remember being frustrated that I couldn’t grasp why “background insulin” was given.

When I watched them, it was like an ah-ha moment. They really pulled the entirety of diabetes together for me.

The human body is really amazing.  And learning about how it works is absolutely most important in understanding your child’s Type 1 diabetes and being able to build on skills to get great control.  

These, and I caution, are technical videos! But, explained in a way that you can understand and digest.  They got me thinking more about my son’s daily functions and watching his body, which ended up being essential in progressing through the stages of Type 1 Diabetes.

The videos build upon each other, so most helpful if you watch in order.  

Kahn Academy provides helpful lessons in math, science, everything really… and then some. These are lecture style videos, but explained slowly and simply so you can comprehend these complex subjects!  These videos, while yes – technical in nature, really helped bridge the gap between what I learned in the hospital at diagnosis and being able to take the next steps like start adjusting ratios and making decisions on my own. 

And that’s when I realized there were crucial steps I needed to take to feel confident going forward in the diabetes management for my son; not just falling down a Pinterest hole of low carb.  I hope you find these just as helpful.  If you do too, would you let me know in the comments?  Or reach out on Instagram?  I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Video #1 Breaking Down Diabetes. 

Explains in easy to understand terms with interactive diagrams.  How carbs convert to glucose and the pancreas’ job to move glucose out of the blood.

Video #2 Pathophysiology - Type 1 Diabetes

Understanding the pancreas role and aplha and beta cells. Explains how the beta cells are destroyed.  Why symptoms develop in Type 1 Diabetes. Explains how a Type 1 goes into DKA, what that looks like within the body cells.  How it happens.

Video #3 Treating Type 1 Diabetes

How insulin and glucose work in the body throughout the day to keep body functions and energy moving.  diagram of how insulin levels change with activity and things throughout the day, explanation of basal/ bolus strategy and how that aligns with the principle of the basal and bolus strategy.

Pro Tip:

Give these links and videos to your parents (their grandparents) to help them understand diabetes a little bit more.  I know my parent’s asked if they could get a training class or something. I think it helped them understand diabetes a little bit deeper so they felt more confident in watching their Grandson alone again.  BUT!  I do recognize this may be TOO much information for the grandparents…

Stop keeping messy packaging because you need the carb counts!
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Shannon Leigh

Shannon is the Mom of a Type 1 Diabetic son who is determined to help other Moms become confident and in-control of their Child's diabetes. Finding ways to lessen the burden Moms feel as the primary caregiver of a Type 1 is her passion. She also loves cooking and creating kid-friendly, low-carb recipes that are yummy and don't impact blood sugar.

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3 Responses

  1. One week ago my 4 year old was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I can’t thank you enough for all these resources. I needed this so much! God bless you momma!

  2. 2 wks ago my 9yr old grandson got diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
    Alot to learn, life now is Hour by Hour till things get controlled.
    Thank you.

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hi! I'm Shannon!

Full-time problem solver, part-time pancreas.  Boy Mom & solo-parent. Lover of the beach.  I enjoy reading, cooking, and traveling.

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