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Humulin or Lantus, Which is the best Insulin For Your Child?

Exploring alternate insulin regimes for your child...
Humulin or Lantus? When my daughter was 8, she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (type 1 diabetes). The Children's Hospital that was treating her, placed her on an insulin program of short acting Humalog NPH and long acting Humalin N.

You should have seen me that first day of training. After a long night in the emergency room where she was diagnosed, I was a practically a raving lunatic. My brain was mostly mush at that point. The instruction for giving her the medications were nightmarish. Adding to my confusion was that everything began with an "H". Mix this "H" with that "H", but first charge this "H" with air, then draw this "H" first followed by that "H", but make sure you roll this "H" between your palms and for crying-out-loud don't shake that "H"... I guess osmosis worked and all of that information seeped in. The bottomline being that we were officially diabetic now.

For those of you who may not be familiar with it, Humalog and Humalin (short and long acting insulins) are mixed in the same syringe and injected 3 times a day usually before meals. The purpose of the injections is \ to prevent blood sugar levels from becoming too high.

Our lifestyles changed. Under these conditions, your child is allowed a certain amount of carbohydrates for each meal. The doctor figures out a "carbohydrate number" based upon such factors as age, weight, etc., and gives you that number. My daughter's carbohydrate number was 65 carbs max per meal and 35 max per snack. Once your child hits their magic number that's it - no more. Whether it's 65 slices of ham or half a pop-tart. Plus she had to eat 6 times a day at certain times everyday.

Well the time came when she decided she wanted a little more freedom of choice and asked me about trying Lantus. My first thought was, if it's not broke, don't fix it. But I can have a cupcake whenever I want to, so I decided my opinion was secondary. We looked into what Lantus was about.

Lantus is a long lasting insulin. One shot at night and she received a 24 hour basal dose of insulin. "One shot," I'm thinking to myself, "that's great". But there is more to using Lantus, you also have to take a shot of short acting insulin (a bolus) everytime you eat. Consume 10 meals, you take 10 shots, 3 meals, 3 shots. That is simple enough to figure out. Now here is the major advantage of Lantus, you base the amount of short acting insulin on the number of carbs you are about to eat. No more carbohydrate limitations, talk about freedom! Compared to the restricted diet regime she had been doing, it was like being re-born. My daughter didn't care that it would mean more shots. All she heard was that she could eat what she wanted when she wanted. Birthday cake, pizza parties, popcorn at the movies, boy she was ready to go.

The first thing she wanted to have was a Blizzard from Dairy Queen. I looked at the carb chart on the wall and it read 125 carbohydrates. That was half a days carbs in a paper cup! After a couple of days of gluttony things got back to normal pretty quickly.

Remember that freedom I mentioned, it came at a price. Lantus's insulin regime requires a lot of shots. Add those to the necessary blood tests and your talking about a lot of holes per day in a little girl. Another thing, her nighttime Lantus shot was 19 units, which is a lot of insulin all at once. In her case, it went in like battery acid. These shots are no fun. However, after several months on the Lantus regime her life and the rest of my family's lives are pretty close to pre-diagnosis normal. All in all, for us, it was the right thing to do. If your doctor is suggesting Lantus or your child is asking about it, consider all of the above. We're glad we did it.

Russell Turner is the father of a 10-year-old diabetic daughter. He discovered early on that he could find all the medical information about diabetes he could ever need on the internet. What he couldn't find was information that told him how to keep his family's life normal after the diagnosis. He started his own website dedicated to just that. Visit http://www.mychildhasdiabetes.com Prepare you child for life with diabetes!

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