(Posted on ChesterCountyMoms.com)

Rule your child's lifeIf your child is living with type 1 diabetes, you may often wonder what you could have done to prevent it - the truth is, there is currently no known way to keep it from happening. While it's an overwhelming diagnosis, advancements are making it easier to manage day-to-day diabetes care.

In this post, we're sharing tips to help you and your child; if you are just learning of the diagnosis or if you need help transitioning daily duties to your growing child, we've got what you need to keep diabetes in check. Read on for information about the annual Dash 4 Diabetes - a great way to get your family moving for a great cause!

Just Diagnosed - Now What?
You will, understandably, have many questions for your doctor, but prepare a list to save time and to organize your thoughts. Don't forget to ask your child if he or she has questions to be answered, too. Your physician may refer you to a dietitian or diabetes educator for more information. Registered Dietitian Michele Francis, Manager of Diabetes and Nutrition Services at The Chester County Hospital, suggests that you should be knowledgeable about the following topics and feel comfortable managing them for your child's diabetes:

  • Blood sugar monitoring, including frequency and target blood sugar values
  • Proper administration of insulin
  • Correct treatment of high or low blood sugars
  • Nutrition and carbohydrate counting
  • Effect of exercise or activity on your child's blood sugar and how to manage it
  • Sick day management plan
  • Diabetes care plan for school

You will probably need to educate other family members, coaches, friends, and others about your child's diabetes to ensure safety and understanding. Be sure your child feels included in all of the discussions, as he or she may be anxious or uncertain of the diagnosis. Remember to stay positive! Having answers to your questions is the first step to living a healthy, happy life with type 1 diabetes.

Healthy Eating
Your doctor, dietitian or diabetes educator will be able to provide more information about your child's food choices, but there is no real "diet" for children with type 1 diabetes. It is important to understand the effects of foods, especially carbohydrates, on your child's blood sugar level. Encouraging healthy, low-fat food choices, including daily doses of fresh fruits, colorful veggies, and whole grains is also suggested.

Make it a "family rule" to enjoy the same foods as your child, especially at meal times. This will help your child feel better about diabetes and good food choices. After all, it's healthier for you, too. This means having fewer sweets and animal products to balance out your child's meal plan.

Energizing Exercise
All of us need to stay active, so why not take the initiative to plan some exercise with your child? Find something fun that you both enjoy doing together, like swimming at your local pool or taking of advantage of a gymnastic center's open-gym times to bounce on the trampoline. If your child has an interest in team sports, encourage him or her to participate. There is no reason why your child can't and shouldn't be active. Michele adds this note about type 1 diabetes and exercise: "Remember that activity typically lowers blood sugar, so be sure to check your child's blood sugar more often until you learn how exercise affects the body."

For an activity that will get your heart pumping and help those with diabetes, join in the fun for Dash 4 Diabetes! Participate in a 5K run or 2.5K walk and sign the kiddos up for the kids run. 

Date: Saturday, April 6, 2013 - Rain or shine!

Time: 2:30 pm - Registration / 3:14 pm - Kids Run / 4:00 pm - 5K Run and 2.5K Walk

Location : Chester County Justice Center - Downtown West Chester

Diabetes Technology
Diabetes management has seen many technological advancements, like almost everything else in health care. Blood glucose meters and insulin pumps are more innovative than ever. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems, which can alert you of potential high and low blood sugars, are also available. Michele suggests that you work closely with your doctor and diabetes educator to help you stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and to decide what might work best for your child.

Local Support
If you're looking for a local resource for all of your diabetes care needs, Chester County Hospital has two Diabetes Self-Management locations to help. Call 610.738.2835 or email diabetes@uphs.upenn.edu for more information.

North Hills Medical Office Building
795 East Marshall Street
West Chester, PA 19380

Jenners Village Professional Building
105 Vineyard Way
West Grove, PA 19390

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