Diabetes in children is also known as juvenile diabetes and type 1 diabetes. This condition generally occurs very quickly, and symptoms typically include increased thirst and frequent urination. These symptoms develop in response to excess glucose buildup in the child’s bloodstream, causing fluid to be extracted from the tissue. Consequently, the child becomes thirsty, and as a result, he may drink more fluids and urinate more frequently than usual.
When a child has type 1 diabetes, his pancreas in unable to produce insulin, so replacing the insulin is necessary in order to keep the child from becoming ill. In addition to increased thirst and frequent urination symptoms that children with diabetes may exhibit include extreme hunger, fatigue, weight loss, mood swings or unusual behavior, and blurred vision.
Mechanisms Behind Weight Loss And Hunger
Although the child may be eating more because of an increased appetite, he may lose weight, as type 1 diabetes often causes fat stores and muscle tissue to shrink. Weight loss is sometimes the first sign of diabetes in children. Extreme hunger is triggered when a child’s organs and muscles become depleted of energy. This occurs because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to transport energy-rich sugar into the cells.
Reasons For Blurred Vision And Diaper Rash
Blurred vision may also indicate the presence of diabetes in children. As blood sugar is pulled out of the lenses of the eyes, the child may lose his ability to focus. Girls who are affected by type 1 diabetes may develop frequent yeast infections, and babies may develop frequent episodes of diaper rash as a result of yeast.
A pediatric endocrinologist can determine the best treatment plan for a child with diabetes. Treatment may include:
- Insulin injections or use of an insulin pump
- Eating a healthy diet, paying attention to starches and sugars
- Getting regular exercise
- Working closely with the doctor to maintain optimal control of diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin. Because the body is also unable to use insulin properly, it is also referred to as insulin resistance.
Type 2 diabetes is commonly associated with being overweight, and it has been steadily increasing in frequency as the population continues to become obese. Most children who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are obese. Other risk factors include inactivity and family history. Children who are in certain minority groups are also at a greater risk of developing diabetes.
Pump therapy is a very effective alternative to insulin injections for managing the child’s diabetes. Many parents choose the insulin pump over traditional injections for the delivery of insulin because it provides more flexibility and eliminates the need to carry vials or insulin pens.
An insulin pump is a device that is either worn under or on the clothing or on a belt or waistband. It delivers a steady dose of insulin via a very small tube that has been placed under the child’s skin. During meals, additional insulin can be delivered by pushing a button.
Diabetes in children is very manageable, and when the parents, child, and physician work together, an effective treatment plan can be implemented to ensure a positive outcome.