Type 1 Diabetes
Diabetes is not an uncommon occurrence among children and young adolescents. This is why it is imperative for parents, especially those with history of diabetes in the family, to be aware of the different symptoms of child diabetes.
Diabetes in children, referred to as type 1 diabetes, is characterized by high levels of blood sugar due to the inadequate secretion of insulin in the pancreas. It is often a result of autoimmune damage to the beta cells or B cells of the pancreas. These B cells are mostly responsible for insulin secretion. When insulin is lacking in the body, there is no way for sugar or glucose to get inside the cells and be used as fuels or energy. Sugar accumulates in the blood leading to serious short- and long-term health consequences.
Most patients with type 1 diabetes need daily insulin injections in order to survive. If left unmanaged, type 1 diabetes can result in eye damage, referred to as diabetic retinopathy, and can possibly lead to blindness. It can also result in increased risks for stroke and heart attack. Other complications of diabetes include damage to the nerves, foot ulcers and peripheral neuropathy. The kidneys are also not spared by diabetes.
There are several symptoms of diabetes in children that may occur suddenly. Children may experience frequent urination, and experience extreme thirst and hunger. Type 1 diabetes can also be indicated by symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, as well as lethargy, fatigue and weakness. Many children experience blurred vision, dizziness and numbing of the hands and the feet. Some children may experience increased episodes of urination at night, and may have a fruity breath odor. When these symptoms are observed in a child, it is often best to bring him for medical consultation and get evaluated.
To diagnose type 1 diabetes, doctors usually take a complete medical history and thorough physical examination of the child. A battery of lab tests will also be undertaken for diagnosis of the diabetes. These tests may include blood test, urine test, glucose-tolerance test and fasting blood sugar test.
Treatment of type 1 diabetes usually involves a diet program which is limited in sugar and carbohydrates in order to control blood sugar level and to minimize the occurrence of the symptoms of child diabetes. Affected children may also need to be administered regularly with insulin. There is also a need to monitor their blood sugar level from time to time. Regular exercise is also advised to children and young adolescents with type 1 diabetes.
Studies are currently being done on the effects of pancreas transplant and islet cell transplant in patients with type 1 diabetes.
MayoClinic: Type 1 Diabetes in Children
Netdoctor: Diabetes in Children