Type 1 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that is caused through an insulin deficiency and whose symptoms include high blood sugar levels. It is the most frequent metabolic disorder among children and young people, and it occurs especially frequently at the age of five or six or at the beginning of puberty.
Diabetes is generally diagnosed at an early stage because the symptoms are easy to recognise. They include:
- Strong thirst
- Excessive passing of water
- Strong loss of weight
- Inability to concentrate
The following tips on nutrition and exercise are intended to help in cases where diabetes has been diagnosed.
A healthy and balanced diet is important also for those who suffer from diabetes. After a meal, the person simply needs to regulate the blood sugar level manually by means of an insulin injection, because the insulin that the body produces is destroyed by the immune system. Especially cereal-based foods such as bread, pasta, pizza and sweets will cause the blood sugar level to spike. Proteins and fats, on the other hand, have only a minor effect. Unfortunately there are no foods that will reduce blood sugar.
Diabetes does not affect a person's ability to do sports. However, physical activity can lower the blood sugar. For this reason, children and young people need to learn how to measure their blood sugar level before doing sports and to adjust the insulin value as needed. In the case of a very low blood sugar reading, taking in a package of fructose will help to raise it again.
And finally: Children and young people with diabetes can develop normally and worry-free, without having to forgo what others can enjoy.
For more information see: www.swissdiabeteskids.ch or www.diabetesgesellschaft.ch.