When your child is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes

type one diabetes diagnosed

“Our biggest goal in properly managing diabetes is to help the patient and family achieve a lifetime of good health.”

Dr. Priti and Chetanbabu M. Patel, TMCOne pediatric endocrinolgists

If your child has received a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis you may be feeling overwhelmed. While the condition develops gradually, the symptoms can seem to appear overnight.

Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes

  • Excessive thirst
  • Hunger or loss of appetite
  • Dry skin
  • Blurry vision
  • Numbness
  • Fruity breath
  • Excessive urination
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Weakness
  • Delays in wound repair or infection control
  • Nausea and vomiting

Not all children will present with the same signs and symptoms. Some children may present with few or none of the above symptoms and some children may present with many.

Is there a cure for Type 1 diabetes?

While there isn’t a cure yet, the past decade and specifically since about 2014, leading-edge technology is helping the diabetes community.

Today some insulin pumps are capable of making micro adjustments to help the patient curb hyperglycemia (low blood sugar) and can turn off the insulin supply if the patient is experiencing hypoglycemia.

Continuous glucose monitors allow patients and families to glance at a screen at any moment to see glucose levels in real time. These advancements are without a doubt life-changing.

However, we still have not discovered the elusive cure. Until that time, it is imperative children with diabetes and their families feel supported and confident in their ability to control blood glucose levels. Please remember people with diabetes do incredible things every day. There are actors, Olympians, scientists and neurosurgeons with diabetes. People with diabetes can live long, productive and healthy lives!

Why is it so important that my child learns to manage Type 1 diabetes?

“We know that if we can help get the glucose (sugar) levels down in the first 5 years, those children will have a smaller number of complications than children who were not able to properly manage their diabetes,” said Dr. Patel. “The three main complications we try to prevent as an adult or older teenager are eye disease, kidney disease and nerve disease.”

Type 1 diabetes is a life-long condition with life-threatening implications if not under control. We know the habits children develop at an early age can stay with them for a lifetime. If children remain supported and encouraged to care for themselves early on, they can develop positive coping skills which can help keep them healthy and happy into adulthood.

What does it mean to ‘manage’ diabetes?

When people with Type 1 diabetes eat carbohydrates–whether whole wheat bread, pasta, fruit or candy–they must inject insulin into their body to help their body move the glucose out of the blood stream and into the cells. You must figure out just how much insulin to inject based upon the amount of carbohydrates consumed. As children’s bodies are constantly growing their insulin needs increase making this adjustment an ever changing target.

Learning how to count carbohydrates at every meal can be demanding for a family. Even families with the best routine can easily forget to cover carbohydrates at a busy family event or on a long road trip. The reality of it is that sometimes life gets in the way. Learning to plan, cope, organize and forgive yourself are some of the best tools for any new Type 1 diabetes family.

The child’s pediatric endocrinology team can be a support system to help the family understand how to safely manage changes in insulin requirements.

What should I do if I think my child may have Type 1 diabetes?

As noted earlier, some children present with few or none of the symptoms listed above, and some children may present with many.

Remember, children go through growth spurts and might ask for more water, might sleep a little more or might be constantly hungry. These symptoms might seem normal, but they could also be clues to a potential diabetes diagnosis.

If you’re concerned, don’t delay. Ask your child’s primary care provider for a glucose test. Depending on the result, the PCP may order additional tests, may start your child on insulin or have your child admitted to the hospital for close monitoring.

Don’t doubt your parental gut feeling! Untreated diabetes can escalate quickly to critical diagnoses like diabetes ketoacidosis or coma. If your child DOES have diabetes, TMC and TMCOne can form a team to help support your child to learn to care for this manageable chronic condition.

You can find the TMCOne pediatric endocrinologist contact information here.

Dr. Patel returns to Tucson, providing pediatric endocrinology at TMCOne

Patel C PhotoDr. Chetanbabu Patel returned to Tucson in June and joined the TMCOne location on 2380 N. Ferguson, across the street from the TMC main campus.

While there are many great reasons for moving to Tucson, Dr. Patel summed it with just one. “The best care for the children we are treating,” he said. “This was a unique opportunity to be a part of a comprehensive program involving specially trained staff who communicates frequently and openly with families – that’s why I chose TMCOne.”

Dr. Patel and his team provide care for children ages 0 to 18 who are experiencing a wide range of endocrine related illnesses, including diabetes, thyroid disorders, adrenal and pituitary disorders, metabolic challenges, and much more.

“Chronic endocrine issues are complex and require a team working together to best help children achieve strong health,” the doctor explained. The team involves the coordinated efforts of specialists at the TMCOne clinic and Tucson Medical Center. The specialists include clinical dieticians, social workers, certified diabetic educators and several others.

Why the certified educators? “The importance of communication cannot be overstated – we want parents to feel comfortable and confident working with us because they are the most important part of the treatment team.”

Peds Endocrinology Care Flyer JPEGEach endocrine challenge is as unique as each human body and what works for one child may not work for another, which can frustrate parents and the patient. Dr. Patel says empathy is an important part of the care provided at his clinic.

“I try and place myself in the parent’s shoes, and understand what is happening with respect to the family dynamics as well as with happening with that particular child. I give them my undivided attention and spend enough time so that they understand why I want them to get labs or to consider one of the treatment options.”

Dr. Patel has dedicated his career to learning as much as possible about pediatric endocrine illness, and he is a devoted advocate for children and their families.

“I always dreamed of becoming a doctor to help others,” he said. “I enjoy working with the parents as well as the babies and teenagers to help them achieve optimum health.”

In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Patel has held many respected positions, including director of diabetes education at the Steele Research Center, chief of pediatric endocrinology at Texas Tech University and assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Arizona.

His immediate and extended family also reside in Arizona, and Dr. Patel has always felt that Tucson is his home. While basketball, tennis and reading are his favorite hobbies, he most enjoys spending time with his family.

Dr. Patel is currently accepting new patients. Please call (520) 324-1010 to schedule.

 

 


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461