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October 30, 2002

Daily Care

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Question from Staten Island, New York, USA:

My 12 year old son has type 1 diabetes, and is on an insulin pump. I hear that taking insulin can cause other problems in the long term. Does that mean that the less insulin I give my son the better off he will be? I am thinking of just watching his carb intake. He loves pasta. Should I limit these high carb foods?

Answer:

I really don’t think there is any advantage either to your son’s diabetes or his physical well being with the simple and rather crude concept of reduced amount of insulin. From a general and physiological point of view, a growing child, who does not have diabetes, produces approximately 0.7-1.0 units per kilogram of body weight per day (0.3-0.45 units per pound of body weight per day), most frequently close to 1.0 units per kilogram of body weight per day (0.45 units per pound of body weight per day). During puberty (boys have puberty around 12-14 years), children with type 1 diabetes require much higher doses, often as much as 1.0-2.0 units per kilogram of body weight per day. This means that less insulin is simply not the best at all for anybody. Insulin, diet and physical exercise must be properly balanced and aimed to achieve the best metabolic control.

MS