According to the CDC, as of 2010 diabetes effects about 1% of the population aged 20 years or less in the United States, with 13,000 children under the age of 18 diagnosed with type one diabetes per year. In 2007 it was found that an average expenditure was $11,744 per year. This amount includes direct attributes to diabetes such as medical costs, as well as lost work days, restricted activity and disability related to diabetes. This amount is “approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes” (Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2012).
Type one diabetes is the most common type of diabetes diagnosed in children and young adults. With this type of diabetes, the body destroys the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is needed to transport glucose into the cells to use as an energy source. Because of the destruction of insulin cells, type one diabetes is insulin dependent, meaning insulin therapy is needed to treat the disease. Many of the common symptoms include: frequent urination, excessive thirst and hunger, extreme fatigue, blurry vision, weight loss, and slow healing of cuts and bruises (American Diabetes Association (ADA), 2013).
The clinical therapy of type one diabetes focuses on glycemic control, which can be is obtained through nutritional management, exercise and insulin therapy. The goal of insulin therapy is to maintain a normal blood glucose level which ranges from 60 to 100 mg/dL. To keep insulin therapy effective, the child and the parent must monitor the child’s blood glucose before and after meals, carbohydrates consumed must be counted, and exercise should be apart of the daily routine. Nutritional management is important “to provide adequate calories for the child’s growth and development” (Ball, Bindler, & Cowen, 2014, p. 1123). Adequate caloric intake depends on the child’s nutritional needs, which will be evaluated before a nutritional plan is in place. An important aspect of nutritional management is carbohydrate counting. Generally, one unit of rapid acting insulin is needed for 15 grams of carbohydrates. Along with insulin therapy and nutritional management, an exercise routine is necessary to increase insulin sensitivity, which can provide glucose control and improve other health risk factors as well. The child must be sure to have an adequate calorie intake to prevent hypoglycemia; a blood glucose level lower than 60 mg/dL (Ball, Bindler, & Cowen, 2014).
Due to the increased demands from children diagnosed with type one diabetes, parents and family are at risk for psychological distress and poorer family functioning (Popp, Robinson, Britner & Blank, 2014). While the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is stressful on its own, too much family stress has been found to decrease the quality of glycemic control. Stress can lead a child to behave negatively, which can affect the quality of their monitoring. Family involvement in glycemic control and disease...