Type 1 diabetes  (T1D) is an autoimmune condition, which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells of the pancreas, which produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes the pancreas stops making insulin because the cells cannot make insulin because they have been destroyed by the bodies own immune system. Without insulin, the body’s cells cannot turn glucose (sugar) into energy.

The diagnosis of type 1diabetes most likely occurs in childhood, with age and maturation the child becomes more at risk of developing cardiovascular complications and cardiac disease. Insulin, diet and physical activity play a big role in treatment.

Some symptoms of T1D

  • Excessively thirsty
  • Passing more urine
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Blurred vision
  • Having cuts that heal slowly
  • Mood swings
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Leg cramps

Studies have shown that exercise clearly offers many health and psychological benefits, improved body composition, insulin sensitivity and glycemic control. It is also seen that adolescents with T1D often do no achieve the recommended physical activity level and are often less active than healthy adolescents. It can also be seen that children who exercise with T1D have improved metabolic control.

Tips for parents with children that have T1D

  • Incorporate at least 30-60 mins of moderate physical activity daily
  • Monitor blood glucose before exercise
  • Additional carbohydrates may be required for exercise lasting >30mins especially if pre-exercise insulin has not been reduced
  • For prolonged vigorous activity monitor blood glucose on an hourly basis and upon completion of an exercise
  • After a vigorous activity may also need to reduce long-acting insulin or eating carbs before bed to minimize the risk of hypoglycemia overnight
  • Children must always be supervised by an adult who is aware they have diabetes and can assist if they go into hypoglycemia


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