My child is four years only. He became sick recently. After admitting him to the hospital, the doctors said he has diabetes. They were giving him insulin injection at the hospital. We were told that he has to continue insulin life-long. We are very worried about our child. Can we stop the insulin and control his sugar with food?
There are many different types of diabetes. Majority of them fall under one of the following categories; type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and pregnancy related diabetes.
Your child is most likely to be having type 1 diabetes. In this type of diabetes, the beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed due to some faulty functioning of the immune system. Beta cells are specialised cells responsible for insulin production. The immune system in the body faultily recognises beta cells as foreign tissue and starts attacking them. This leads to complete destruction of beta cells and absence of natural insulin in the body.
Insulin is a vital hormone for control of blood glucose. In the absence of insulin, the blood level of glucose can rise uncontrollably. This can lead to multiple short-term and long-term complications. The most dreaded complication is diabetic ketoacidosis. Probably your child was admitted to hospital with this complication. This is a life-threatening emergency condition. If not treated promptly, it can lead to coma and even death.
Since type 1 diabetes is caused due to the absence of insulin, the only treatment is to replace insulin which is missing in your child’s body. There are newer oral tablets being tested for type 1 diabetes. But they too need to be taken along with the insulin.
It is true that some diet regulation is required, but this alone will not keep the blood glucose under control. Therefore, he has to continue insulin life-long in order to reduce the risk of life-threatening complications and to improve quality of life.
Last updated: August 29, 2020
- Powers, Alvin C., Kevin D. Niswender, and Carmella Evans-Molina. 2018. “Diabetes Mellitus: Diagnosis, Classification, and Pathophysiology.” In Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, by Jameson L, Fauci A, Kasper D, Hauser S, Longo D and Loscalzo J, 2850-2859. McGraw-Hill Education.
- Powers, Alvin C., Kevin D. Niswender, and Michael R. Rickels. 2018. “Diabetes Mellitus: Management and Therapies.” In Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, by Jameson L, Fauci A, Kasper D, Hauser S, Longo D and Loscalzo J, 2859-2875. McGraw-Hill Education.