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Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Can Be Rescued By Artificial Pancreas

Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Can Be Rescued By Artificial Pancreas

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which a person has a very high blood sugar level.  Type 1 diabetes in children, also known as juvenile diabetes, is a condition in which the child’s body does not make enough insulin or makes no insulin. 

Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Can Be Rescued By Artificial Pancreas

Treatment includes getting insulin via injections or insulin pumps, frequent monitoring of blood sugar, eating healthy foods, and regular exercising.

Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Can Be Rescued By Artificial Pancreas

Symptoms of diabetes type 1 in children are frequent urination, bedwetting, frequent thirst, tiredness, weight loss, etc.  Doctors do a blood test to check the amount of blood glucose, and depending on the values, the pediatric endocrinologist will decide on a treatment course. 

Parents have to constantly monitor the child’s blood sugar levels, count carbohydrates, and give insulin doses or injections as appropriate.  Parents also should encourage the child to have proper nutrition and proper exercise.  The child should have regular blood testing and urine testing done.

Diabetes mellitus, or diabetes type 1, if not taken care of properly, can lead to ketoacidosis, hypoglycemia, eye problems, kidney and heart diseases, etc.  Very high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves.

Taking care of a child with diabetes type 1 is a challenge for the parents.  Blood sugars often tend to fluctuate between very high and very low values. 

These fluctuations often prove to be dangerous or even fatal to the children.  Getting a child to have proper nutrition and proper exercises can be a cumbersome task for the parents, giving them sleepless nights.

Recent research has shown that artificial pancreas can control diabetes in children.

An artificial pancreas, also called a hybrid closed-loop system, is a system that works almost like a healthy pancreas in controlling the blood sugar in the body. 

It consists of three devices – a continuous glucose monitor that continuously monitors glucose every few minutes and sends the information to an app or a program on a smartphone. 

This program signals the insulin infusion pump when and how much insulin needs to be given.  The insulin infusion pump works throughout the day by delivering appropriate insulin doses, depending on the blood sugar levels.

Continuous monitoring of blood sugar and giving appropriate insulin doses to the child throughout the day and even at night remains a hectic task for the parents.  The artificial pancreas system works as a boon to such parents.  The artificial pancreas system can both effectively control as well as manage diabetes.

A trial study involving 74 children in the age group of 1 to 7 who have diabetes type 1, showed that children had target glucose levels three-fourths of their day while using the artificial pancreas system, which is just over 2 hours more than their current treatment system.

Dr. Faye Riley, senior research communications officer at Diabetes UK, says the artificial pancreas is safe and effective for kids.  With this system, parents can now breathe a sigh of relief, as now they can have relaxed night sleep. 

It is also beneficial as children cannot often understand the symptoms of extreme blood sugar variations.  The system works by reducing very high and deficient blood sugar levels.

This system has been approved for use by children as low as 2 years.  The artificial pancreas system makes it possible for children with diabetes type 1 to live an everyday life just like other children of their age.  The effective system makes the burden much less for caregivers of such children. 

Parents need to talk to pediatric endocrinologists about the appropriate artificial pancreas system.  More and more research is developing new and different types of artificial pancreas systems.

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