Children With Diabetes Deserve Insulin Concentration to Meet Their Needs

Young children with type 1 diabetes face a serious conundrum and that is that the available insulin is often too concentrated for their needs.

As a result, endocrinologists wanting to avoid terrible lows (and subsequent lawsuits) in these little ones order parents to feed a certain number of grams of carbohydrate per meal or they convince parents to put their child on an insulin pump, which can dole out smaller increments of insulin to meet their requirements.

However, the high number of carbs many type 1 kids get these days is a dangerous thing for these children because it crowds out essential protein and fat and can lead to weight gain and directly paves the way to roller-coaster style blood glucose management that I promise you, is worse for the child than the parent–no matter how much work and worry is involved on their part.

In the case of an insulin pump, not everyone wants this technology which comes with concerns about tubing issues and scar tissue development and also, not every family can afford one.

Why isn’t insulin made at different concentrations? I mean, it is, but mostly to meet the needs of the type 2 diabetes population which generally has very high insulin requirements. I’ve talked with many type 2s who use in one day, the amount of insulin I use in a week. This isn’t a judgment on them, it’s me pointing out that adults are getting their needs met in this regard and children are being left behind because why? Is it that they can’t advocate for themselves and their parents are being misled by pediatric endocrinologists who don’t know better? Pretty much, I think. One may argue that they grow up quick and then they don’t need such small insulin quantities but childhood health is essential to the rest of one’s life and so optimizing their care while they’re young is morally imperative.

There is a solution for those who want to give their child a smaller amount of carbohydrate and who don’t or can’t use an insulin pump. Diluted insulin. Special diluent fluid is provided free upon request from insulin makers and shipped to your nearby pharmacy. You can do it yourself or have a healthcare provider do it (if you can convince them to). The diluted insulin means you can dose to correct and cover for your child without the elevated risk of sending them low or needing so many extra snacks. This offers the potential to lower their carbohydrate intake, leaving sufficient appetite for what drives growth in a child–protein.

Regarding growth, look up the science, there is nothing indicating your child requires a lot of carbohydrates to grow. I think this is oft repeated mostly due to the above phenomena or lack of time and willingness on the part of physicians to do the proper research as well as their overreliance on what they’re told by other physicians and by governing associations. My daughter, on a very low carb diet, just shot up over 2 inches in 4 months. Before that, she was on a moderately low carb diet for a long time and her height is over the 90th percentile. Her bones and musculature are impressive. Her hair is thick and long, her nails are strong.

Aside from adequate nutrition, kids also need something else to grow to their full potential and that’s normal or near normal blood sugars, which only low carbohydrate diets achieve and which diluted insulin in children enables.

Diluted insulin could be a service pediatric endocrinologists provide to parents of young children with type 1 diabetes if we demanded it. I admit it’s intimidating to do one’s self. First, we have to educate ourselves and then them. Health care professionals feel really bad for us because they know what type 1 diabetes means in the long run for our children and they know the demanding lifestyle we parents lead (because we advocate well for our own suffering–lack of sleep, anyone?) but they’re not being very brave or ethical by ignoring what is going on with kids these days. Too many aren’t thriving!

Not only do most type 1 children have poor blood sugar management, but many are also gaining excess weight. This doesn’t bode well for their future and it’s not fair that adults have appropriate insulin and children don’t. As parents, we have to fight for our kids. Maybe I’m completely wrong. Fine. Maybe you should find out if any of this is true and if so, I implore you to think and discuss the topic with others. I was one of those kids with high blood sugar and weight gain after diagnosis and it made me extremely depressed and unmotivated, totally slowing down the trajectory of my life which has only got back on the rails by a bunch of miracles, sweat, and tears.

I’ve had enough of this poor treatment of children with diabetes and will not stand for it when it comes to my dear daughter. Children deserve medicine that is dosed for their size. They deserve myths to be expelled by our careful investigation and attention to the matter. And they deserve normal blood sugars.

2 thoughts on “Children With Diabetes Deserve Insulin Concentration to Meet Their Needs

  1. Rick Phillips

    I disagree with you entirely. I lived in the day of U40, U80 and of course U 100 insulin. Here is why we have largely standardized insulin concentration. We who have lived with different concentrations know exactly how easy it is to mix them up. With U100 parents, hospital staffs, and pharmacists need not think about the concentration. If you think you are pushing U40 and are really pushing U80 or U100 the outcome can be tragic. In houses with multiple Ds it is especially difficult. I understand the issue of high concentrations for kids. But trust me, pushing U100 when you expect U40 is a recipe for disaster. You really should you rethink your position.

    I speak from experience. My mom was using U80 insulin and I was using U40 different color etc. I accidentally pulled the U80 got it into a U40 syringe and and spent the next week in the hospital. Both of us were experienced and both were capable of knowing.

    Finally, while the insulin presents an issue, the syringes are even worse. Yes parents do have to adapt, just like those who use U500 have it adapt. but the vast majority do not and the population is safer because of it. The reaosn is you have to adapt in one way all the time not many potential ways all the time.

  2. Sysy Post author

    Rick, I don’t stop myself from doing things that others cannot do. I’m not asking insulin makers to create a different concentration of insulin. What I want is for diluted insulin to become more easily available for those of us who want it. People will have to be cautious with the diluted insulin because of the potential for mistakes like yours but we already have to be thanks to the widespread use of both basal and bolus insulin. In the past, I’ve given bolus in place of basal insulin, for example, which is pretty dangerous (and was also very easy to mix up). The nature of diabetes is such that I would advocate people use self-knowledge to determine if they are currently capable of using diluted insulin. I am and so I will use it for my daughter. Others should keep their protocol more simple, perhaps, but that certainly shouldn’t have any bearing on me and what I can accomplish. What I’m advocating for isn’t forcing people to do things but allow them to take the best care of themselves and their children that they can. People need to be responsible for themselves and not get in the way of those who want to do better.

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