"The Treatment of Children with Diabetes" is a good example of a paper on child development. According to Povlsen and Ringsberg (2009), diabetes in children is one of the most persistent diseases. The latter part of the 20th century saw an increase in incidences of childhood type 1 diabetes. However, despite this increase, the causal factors of the disease are poorly documented. Gale (2002) asserts that a literature review into the disease reveals the neglect of the disease by researchers especially in countries like Scandinavia. Despite the low interest in the disease, childhood type 1 diabetes is known to have existed even before the discovery of insulin with very few cases being reported in several countries in the years 1920-1950.
The disease although rare was fatal, however, due to the low interest little remains known about the disease at the end of the 20th century. Changing demographic trends and increasing cases have changed the way the disease is understood (Gale, 2002). Over the years, childhood diabetes has received attention from researchers and doctors alike. According to Gale (2002), the process of diagnosing childhood diabetes was fairly slow and unconvincing.
In England, the medical society drew largely from the scientific study conducted in other countries. The history of childhood diabetes dates back to the early 20th century when a few cases of diabetes were known to exist. Over the years, childhood diabetes has received increased attention. Many cases of childhood diabetes continue to be recorded year in year out. The continued attention that childhood diabetes has received has enabled researchers to understand the disease better. Diabetes is a life-long condition, which should be managed.
Of particular concern is the care that children with diabetes should be given. Most children are vulnerable at the age of 10-14 years (Gale, 2002). Mullier (2012), states there are different types of diabetes in children, key among them being diabetes type 1. Symptoms of childhood diabetes type 1 include; weight loss, excessive urination, tiredness, blurred vision, and constant thirst. Children also develop itchy genitals and regular infections. It is important that diabetes type 1 in children be diagnosed early to reduce cases of complications like high blood glucose levels. Further, failure to manage diabetes type 1 also brings complications.
Diabetes type 1 occurs when the pancreatic cells responsible for secreting insulin are damaged by the affected person’ s immune system. This gives diabetes type 1 the name autoimmune disease. The destruction of the cells is irreversible and therefore patients live with the condition. Irrespective of the extensive research that has been conducted on diabetes type 1, little remains are known about the exact cause of the disease (Mullier, 2012). However, scientists speculate that the disease is genetic or is caused by a virus or other autoimmune diseases.
Diabetes type 1 can seriously damage the health of a child if it is poorly managed. High blood glucose levels can be responsible for heart disease, stroke, failure of the kidneys, damaged nerves, and blindness. Scientific developments have however limited the chances of fatal health risks by introducing remedies that control blood glucose. The risk of health damage by poor management of high blood glucose has heralded the need for managing the disease. Learning to live with children with diabetes type 1 is crucial in enhancing their health wellbeing.
Oskouie, Merdad, and Ebrahimi (2013) state that it is important for parents living with children with diabetes type 1 to show high levels of responsibility and care. The authors argue that the wellbeing of children with life-long disease lies with the parents. As a life-long disease, parents have difficulty coping with the disease and conditions of the children. Parents are psychologically affected and this may affect their coping mechanisms. According to Oskouie, Merdad, and Ebrahimi (2013), there are several coping strategies that help parents to adapt and help the children manage the disease.
The psychological, socio-economic, and emotional factors play a huge role in determining how parents react to the disease. Research studies have pointed out that despite parents adapting to diabetes management, there are incidences of giving in that is transformed into the children. Research carried out by the authors has pointed out various factors that may affect the outcome of the disease. One of the factors is child cooperation, which has been known to positively influence the coping of parents. Another factor is parents’ characteristics, which include demographic factors like age, education, employment, and understanding.
The research found out that an understanding of parents was more likely to easily cope with the fact of disease and in turn positively affect the outcome of the child’ s health (Oskouie, Merdad, and Ebrahimi, 2013). Crisis and experiences have also been known to affect the outcome of the disease. For example, a crisis in a family may negatively affect the disease outcome. Experiences of hardships in a family may also negatively affect the outcome of the disease. The social and financial status of a guardian and the family also affects the outcome of the disease.
The cost incurred in the efforts to treat diabetes type 1 is high and parents with low income may lack the financial ability to effectively meet implicated expenses and thus negatively affect the outcome of the disease (Oskouie, Merdad, and Ebrahimi, 2013). The problem of coping and living with children suffering from diabetes type 1 disease is made complex by immigration. Povlsen and Ringsberg (2009) argue that immigration, which exposes children to different ethnic groups, is a risk factor for negatively affecting the outcome of the disease.
Cross-cultural differences coupled with potential problems that are faced by immigrants in foreign countries are a major influencing factor in negative outcomes of the disease (Povlsen and Ringsberg, 2009). Research conducted by Povlsen and Ringsberg in Denmark has suggested that immigrant children suffering from diabetes type 1 face the risk of poor metabolic control and quality of life. The problem has been attributed to a lack of trust. The research found out that despite the immigrant's parents sharing the same concerns for their children with native parents, there was mistrust between the healthcare professionals and the immigrant parents.
Povlsen and Ringsberg (2009) cite that immigrant parents require special training to help them cope with the reality of the disease. This represents an uphill task for immigrants’ families and concerned government in trying to address the care of children with diabetes type 1 (Povlsen and Ringsberg, 2009). Increased obesity in children has thrown into the limelight another type of diabetes; type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), which was only known to affect adults.
Research conducted by Springer et. al, in 2013 shows that T2DM is prevalent in obese children and has recommended ways of managing the disease. Surprisingly, though is the prevalence of T2DM in children, which was thought to be an adults’ disease. T2DM affects children from the age of 10-18 and equally needs management like type 1 diabetes. The existing notion about T2DM in children has affected the attention that has been given to the disease. The disease also presents a challenge to doctors who have no knowledge of how to treat the disease in children (Springer et. al, 2013).
Gale, E. (2002). The rise of children Type 1 Diabetes in the 20th century. American Diabetes Association, 51(12), 3353-3361.
Mullier, C. (2012). Diabetes in children and young people: type 1, where are we now? First of a short series on diabetes. British Journal of School Nursing, 7(8), 378-381.
Oskouie, F., Merdad, N. & Ebrahimi, H. (2013). Mediating factors of coping process in parents of children with Type 1 Diabetes. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders, 12(20), 1-7.
Povlsen, L. & Ringsberg, K. (2009). Learning to live with a child with diabetes – problems related to immigration and cross-cultural diabetes care. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 23(3), 482-489.
Springer, S., et al, (2013). Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in children and adolescents. Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 131(2), 648-664.