the disease and its impact on children and families

One word, two different pathologies. And completely different care needs. Let’s talk about diabetes. And specifically type 1. A disease that affects the lives of children and families.

“Every day – says Erica, mother of a child with type 1 diabetes, is always different. One night – Erica continues – my son had 4 hypoglycemia, 5 if I also think about it with awakening. The sensor has been ringing continuously all night, at the risk of getting used to that sound and risking not waking up to feed it. ”Hence the appeal to the institutions to strengthen the Regional Center for Diabetes in Developmental Age:“ It is true, today technologies are of tremendous help, but they must support the human presence, I would say indispensable “, adds Erica. And the ‘indispensable human presence’ translates into doctors, experts and the possibility of 24-hour contact for families with the Center.

But let’s go in order. And let’s start by understanding the disease. As Dr. Maria Giulia Berioli, head of the Regional Reference Center for Adolescent Diabetes, explains, “Diabetes is a disease characterized by an increase in blood glucose levels, and the word comes from the Greek διαβαίνω” to go through “: glucose is not used by the body, but “passes through” the body and is excreted in the urine.

The word diabetes, continues dr. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (also called adult-onset diabetes, 95% of diabetic cases) is a chronic disease characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood and is due to a change in the amount or function of insulin. It is called type 2 to distinguish it from type 1 (also called juvenile diabetes, 5% of cases) as it is two separate diseases, due to causes, epidemiology, age of onset, symptoms of onset, therapy and the possibility of prevention. .

People with type 2 diabetes “are very high in number compared to people with type 1 diabetes and require two completely different approaches to care”.

Thus, we arrive at type 1 diabetes, which affects the lives of children and families: “Type 1 diabetes – highlights the head of the regional reference center for developmental diabetes – represents the most common endocrinopathy in children and is a chronic, rare, extremely unstable disease requiring continuous assistance, specific skills and appropriate reference centers with the characteristics mentioned in the Diabetic Disease Plan and in the guidelines of national and European scientific societies specifying characteristics and numbers. And again: “Competence must be a basic requirements to talk about reference and respond to society’s health needs “.

In Umbria, Dr. Berioli, “a single center has been identified that insists on Perugia Hospital (Regional HUB), which has always performed roles and functions specific to the specialist level, from the management of the most complex beginnings to the use of more advanced technologies. in a homogeneous manner throughout the regional territory “. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the leader continues, “the regional reference center left no child with diabetes without the necessary assistance and technologies and continued to perform roles and functions also through the development of telemedicine and telecommunications and all thanks to the contribution of National SIEDP (Italian Society of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology) “.

And again: “There is no doubt – Berioli explains – that the regional reference center representing the control room today must be strengthened with dedicated doctors in addition to the manager, appropriate times, nurses dedicated all week to perform training and administrative activities and front office, everything together in a multidisciplinary approach, where psychological help must be integrated with nutrition, nursing and medical help.The center also needs “a dedicated telephone line h / 24”.

The strengthening of the regional Hub, “is an indispensable requirement for continued integration with the territory”, and “cooperation with free-choice pediatricians is fundamental”.

Children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, concludes Dr. Maria Giulia Berioli, “must be treated in their region and in the pediatric field with homogeneous care in accordance with norms and rules and in accordance with national and European scientific communities. This will strengthen the prescriptive suitability of new technologies and reduce health costs, while our children and young people’s right to be treated in the most innovative ways that will protect them from future complications is preserved.
And again: “Today – he adds – we can try to live as if there was no diabetes, but never pretend that it does not exist and that at all levels. The consequences of poor care and attention would be dramatic. Achieving the goal can not rule out listening to the world of associations that have cared for children with diabetes in Umbria for years ”.

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