Registered nurse and certified diabetes educator Judy Waks runs the group. It meets at the Baptist Children’s Diagnostic Center near Country Walk, 13500 SW 152 St., on the second Tuesday of every month from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. The group was organized in January and since then Waks has been trying to get the word out.
“I know there is a need,” she says. “In the last month, I’ve had two or three parents contact me with newly diagnosed children and they were very upset.”
There are two types of diabetes – Type One and Type Two. People with Type One diabetes don’t make insulin because their insulin producing cells have been destroyed.
“You cannot live without insulin,” Waks says.
People with Type One diabetes depend on insulin injections three to four times a day and they must take care with their diet and exercise, and take their medicine.
“My feeling is that there has been an increase in the number of children with Type One,” Waks says. “It’s not related to their lifestyle. Type One is an autoimmune disease.”
People with Type Two diabetics take pills to bring their blood sugar under control, but, Waks says, it can become tricky when you’re dealing with a young child.
“You have to try to match the right amount of insulin to go the right type of food,” she says. “It’s a little complicated and it takes a lot of adjustment for the parents. It’s a lifelong disease.”
As a society, as people have become more obese, Type Two diabetes has become a problem. “Type Two in children is epidemic,” she says. “It’s related to lifestyle. It used to be called adult onset.”
The support group is for parents who have children with either Type One or Type Two.
“The parental needs are similar,” Waks says. “The bottom line to both is adjustment of food and exercise and medication. They need all of it.”
Type One diabetics will always need insulin. For Type Two, when a child is put on medication depends on a variety of factors.
“If their sugars aren’t too high, they might say change your diet,” she says. “Diet is very big, diet and exercise. If they can lose weight, they can get their sugar down.”
Waks hopes that the support group will be a venue for parents to share their worries and concerns about dealing with diabetes. She says it’s good to get support from another parent who understands what they are going through.
“When you have other parents with some of the same issues, it’s reassuring. This is what I do for my child,” she says. “They have something in common. I’m there to answer questions about diabetes. Sometimes they just need reassurance they are doing the right things.”
Waks plans to bring in dieticians to talk to the parents or other experts to talk about topics interest, such as diet and insulin pumps.
To RSVP for meetings, email Waks at firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information, call 786-662-4895.