Are you caring for someone with type 1 diabetes?
For the caregiver of a person with type 1 diabetes, follow-up is demanding, even more so if it is a child.
Type 1 diabetes usually develops before the age of 30, in both men and women. In Canada, 10% of those with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.
People with type 1 diabetes depend on daily insulin injections or an insulin pump to stay alive. People who inject insulin need to determine the amount of insulin they take every day: this means measuring carbohydrate intake at meals, blood glucose levels, and energy expenditure.
Blurred vision, severe thirst and hunger, fatigue, frequent urination, frequent skin infections, slow healing of wounds, weight loss despite increased appetite
When blood sugar becomes too high: confusion, increased breathing rate, rapid heartbeat, fruity breath, impaired coordination of movements, tremors, difficulty speaking, pain in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness
Intense or pronounced thirst, weight loss or gain, severe fatigue and weakness, frequent urination, bed-wetting, yellowish urine with a sweet smell
At a more advanced stage: nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, dehydration, sweet fruity breath, blurred vision
Type 1 diabetes is a disease that cannot be cured. Close monitoring and lifestyle adjustments are essential to ensure the person's survival and quality of life.
In general, the person's outcome depends on the following:
Ask your CIUSSS about the availability of a program for people with pre-diabetes and diabetes to learn more about their disease and how to control it.
Managing type 1 diabetes requires close monitoring, including:
As a caregiver, you can:
If you are caring for a child, some of these tips may not apply.
Our child was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. How do we tell them?
The educational game GlucoZor, designed for children aged 8 to 12 and available as an app, consists of taking care of GlucoZor, who is diabetic, by giving him balanced meals, monitoring his blood sugar levels and injecting the right amount of insulin. Communication-Jeunesse also offers a small selection of books (in French only); this organization is worth knowing for its judicious choices and its Livrovore space (in French only), where your child will find ways to express their emotions through games and reading. Camp Carowanis (in French only) allows children to share their own situation with other children.
We were told at the hospital that our child had diabetic ketoacidosis. What is this?
This is a serious complication, usually in cases of type 1 diabetes. The body produces high levels of acid in the blood to the point of being toxic. If you notice your child urinating frequently, being very thirsty, losing weight, being hungry all the time and being very tired (in French only), it may be a sign of type 1 diabetes that could lead to this complication. You should seek immediate medical attention.
Are there any apps you know of to help with glucose tracking?
Some helpful tools are suggested in the web page What you need to know about diabetes.
What financial assistance is available for diabetes?
Diabète Québec. Aides socioéconomiques.
Gouvernement du Canada. Votre guide sur le diabète.
Need to talk?
Contact our Caregiver Support Helpline for counselling, information et referrals.
Every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Free of charge.