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Diabetes Technol Ther. 2017 Jul;19(7):383-390. doi: 10.1089/dia.2017.0130. Epub 2017 Jul 7.

Challenges of Diabetes Management in Toddlers.

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Paediatric Endocrinology Department, Mafraq Hospital , Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates .


Toddlers with type 1 diabetes have distinctive combination of challenges to their families and healthcare providers. A major factor is the difficulty in achieving metabolic control without risking hypoglycemia. The rising incidence of type 1 diabetes in toddlers increases the magnitude of the problem and creates a greater need for providing specialized service to cater for this age group's unique need. Type 1 has a specific disease nature in younger children and its clinical presentation mimics common childhood diseases. Symptoms and signs in the newly presented toddler with diabetes might be unspecific causing diagnosis to be missed or delayed. With the low cognitive ability and immature communication, toddlers might not be able to express their ill-feeling resulting from hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. Hypoglycemia fear is common, which aggravates stress and reduces adherence to strict metabolic control. Nocturnal hypoglycemia is more common in toddlers and can be undiagnosed unless continuous glucose monitoring is used. Insulin administration and adjustment can be challenging due to pain, fear, refusal, and frequent intercurrent illness. Glucose monitoring is crucial. However, it can be distressing to the child and difficult to adhere to due to commitment or financial reasons. Insulin pump therapy is proven to be an effective and a safe method of treatment for toddlers, but it requires intensive training, resources, and long-term support. Provision of multidisciplinary team with special expertise in managing toddlers with diabetes is essential. Providing more physiological insulin regimes and customized technology is required to improve treatment compliance and diabetes control.


Glucose monitoring; Hypoglycemia; Insulin pumps; Psychology; Toddlers

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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