Diabetes in children
Type 1 diabetes in children is a condition in which your child's pancreas no longer produce the insulin your child needs to survive, and you'll need to replace the missing insulin. Type 1 diabetes in children used to be known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes.
The diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in children can be overwhelming at first. Suddenly, you and your child — depending on his or her age — must learn how to give injections, count carbohydrates and monitor blood sugar.
The signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children usually develop quickly, over a period of weeks.
* Increased thirst and frequent urination. As excess sugar builds up in your child's bloodstream, fluid is pulled from the tissues. This may leave your child thirsty. As a result, your child may drink — and urinate — more than usual.
* Extreme hunger. Without enough insulin to move sugar into your child's cells, your child's muscles and organs become energy depleted. This triggers intense hunger.
* Weight loss. Despite eating more than usual to relieve hunger, your child may lose weight — sometimes rapidly. Without the energy sugar supplies, muscle tissues and fat stores simply shrink. Unexplained weight loss is often the first sign to be noticed.
* Fatigue. If your child's cells are deprived of sugar, he or she may become tired and lethargic.
* Irritability or unusual behaviour. Children with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes may suddenly seem moody or irritable.
* Blurred vision. If your child's blood sugar is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of your child's eyes. This may affect your child's ability to focus clearly.
* Yeast infection. Girls with type 1 diabetes may have a genital yeast infection, and babies can develop diaper rash caused by yeast.
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. Scientists do know that in most people with type 1 diabetes, the body's own immune system — which normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses — mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing (islet) cells in the pancreas. Genetics may play a role in this process, and exposure to certain viruses may trigger the disease.
There aren't many known risk factors for type 1 diabetes, though researchers continue to find new possibilities.
Known risk factors include:
* A family history. Anyone with a parent or siblings with type 1 diabetes has a slightly increased risk of developing the condition.
* Genes. The presence of certain genes indicates an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes. In some cases — usually through a clinical trial — genetic testing can be done to determine if a child who has a family history of type 1 diabetes is at increased risk of developing the condition.
Type 1 diabetes can affect nearly every major organ in your child's body, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. The good news is that keeping your child's blood sugar level close to normal most of the time can dramatically reduce the risk of these complications.
Source: Mayo Clinic