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Diabetes & Hypoglycemia


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School Concerns

There is an increasing concern about inactivity and its relation to diabetes. This is not the only contributing factor. However, there is an increase in this problem. More children are having it and at younger ages.

Here is one of the main things which school personnel must remember. If a school child has been diagnosed with low or high blood sugar, the proper diet at school is essential. It is not optional. This includes the time and type of snacks. Be sure to learn about the needs of each of these children.

Fluctuations in blood sugar levels influence behavior, academic performance, and create serious health risks. It is very important to maintain a balance avoiding high and low levels of blood sugar. For some children, this balance can be maintained with food only. For others, it is maintained with food and medication.

Carbohydrate is changed to sugar during digestion. If the carbohydrate content in a meal is too high, blood sugar rises excessively after the meal. If the carbohydrate content in a meal is too low, blood sugar can drop to dangerously low levels. A person who has low blood sugar or high blood sugar must carefully manage a consistent flow of the correct amount of carbohydrates.

A diet plan must be established by a physician, a diabetes educator, or a registered dietitian.

Info from a Class Taught by a Diabetes Educator

    Low Blood Sugar
  • Symptoms: shaking, fast heartbeat, sweating, anxious, dizziness, hunger, impaired vision, weakness, fatigue, headache, irritability.
  • Causes: Too little food, too much insulin or diabetes medicine, extra exercise.
  • Onset: Sudden, may progress to insulin shock.
  • What be can done? Drink a half cup of orange juice or milk, or eat several hard candies. Contact school nurse or follow other support plans such as parent contact. Test blood sugar and if symptoms don't stop call a doctor. Within 30 minutes after symptoms go away, have the child eat a light snack (half a peanut butter or meat sandwich and a half cup of milk. Caution: observe recommended amounts.)
    High Blood Sugar
  • Symptoms: extreme thirst, frequent urination, dry skin, hunger, blurred vision, drowsiness, nausea.
  • Causes: Too much food, too little insulin, illness, or stress.
  • Onset: Gradual, may progress to diabetic coma.
  • What can be done? Contact school nurse or follow other support plans such as parent contact. Test blood sugar. If it is over 250 mg/dl for several tests, call the doctor.

TREATS

For some children and grown-ups, traditional treats can be dreaded temptations if they are living with serious medical conditions such as Crohnís disease, diabetes, ADHD, etc. Avoidance of certain foods can help control some symptoms. Most people are sensitive enough include non-alcoholic beverages for guests who have problems with alcohol, but they often overlook other dietary needs of guests by not knowing about the conditions or not knowing how to help.

It is hard for teachers to know all dietary restrictions and guidelines for children. The responsibility lies with parents to let teachers know and to provide tasty alternatives so the child can enjoy holiday parties. If you "package and sell" non-traditional treats cleverly enough, other children will want to join the child with the special dietary needs.

Even if it isn't a traditional treat, stick a sprig of holly or other decoration on the plate and call it a holiday treat. We have so many sweet holidays which signal real problems for some children. Here are a couple of books which can help. The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook: More than 175 Ultra-Tasty Recipes for Total Health and Weight Loss and The American Diabetes Association Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook

Resources

The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) is a multidisciplinary organization of healthcare professionals who provide diabetes education and care. Names and contact information for qualified diabetes educators can be found at this site.

View these and other pages at Childrenwithdiabetes.com.
Diabetes at School ||Info for Classmates || School and Daycare Issues

Home Concerns

Rights on the Childrenwithdiabetes.com site

Children's Books

Diabetes and ADHD

At Children with Diabetes, you can search the Diabetes Team Questions for answers to these and more.

  • Has anyone done a study to show if ADHD medications impact sugar levels or metabolism?
  • Is there any connection between diabetes and ADD? Could the attention deficit be caused by high blood sugar levels?
  • My daughter's diabetes doctor and pediatrician say medication for ADHD will cause her blood sugars to go completely out of control. Do you have any suggestions?
  • I was told that he could have learning issues due to the extremely low glucose levels he experienced.
  • Could high blood sugar levels mask as ADHD?
  • Is there any correlation between ADHD and diabetes?


DOES SUGAR MAKE PEOPLE SWEET, HYPER, OR WHAT?

We continue to see more information about the role of nutrition in attention, concentration, and learning. Entering "sugar" into the search box at the NASP site brought up this interesting article: Attention Problems, Part III: Nutrional, Medical and Ecological Sources of Inattention. Authors write about challenges and strategies for inclusive education.

Studies on Laura J. Stevens' site show that sugar can affect some (not all) children with ADHD. Ms Stevens has earned her Masters Degree in Foods and Nutrition from Purdue University. She has authored 5 books about diet, allergies, and behavior. She has conducted graduate research into biochemical factors affecting children with ADHD. She has 25 years experience helping children with ADHD.

SUGAR TESTING

Possible indications of a problem with sugar could be if a child craves sugar; eats a lot of cookies, candy, highly sugared cereal; etc. More indicators are listed on Ms Steven's site. She states: "Itís easy with todayís fast food and convenience foods to take in a lot of sugar each day. For example, a can of pop has 9 teaspoons of sugar. Thatís like drinking liquid candy!"

I think it is best to have medical help in ruling out high blood sugar and low blood sugar problems before using extreme experimentations with diet. On Ms Stevens' site, she suggests a method which a parent might use for determining if a child is a "sugarholic."

I suggest that a teacher or parent can make notes about behavior approximately one hour before and one hour after sweet snacks, a sweet breakfast, parties, etc. It is hard to keep accurate track without making brief notes. You could just devise a code to put on a specific calendar.

Notice labels regarding sugar content. A concerned parent could record the total amount of sugar consumed in one day to give a better picture. We are often not aware of how much sugar we consume.

We need to be aware of natural sugars as well. For example, a diabetic's diet might recommend two ounces of fruit juice or one fruit with a meal. (By one fruit, they mean a whole apple, orange, or other fruit not just a few slices. Sugar enters the system more slowly with a meal.) One orange is equal to two ounces of orange juice. A nice eight ounce glass of juice is like eating four oranges. Of course, fruit punch has even more sugar without the nutritional benefits of the real thing. Here is another sugar advantage to eating one orange instead of having a big glass of juice. Who wants three more oranges after eating one?


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