Children can be diagnosed with typ1 or type 2 diabetes at any age. The most common type of childhood diabetes is type 1 diabetes. Type1 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in toddlers or teenagers that are near to puberty. Each year around 15,000 US children are found to have type 1 diabetes and around 3,700 more are found to have type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce insulin. The disease cannot be prevented, and there is no known cure. The cause of type 1 diabetes has not been identified.
Signs of diabetes in children
- Increased urination: The body expels excess glucose in the urine, and this causes frequent urination.
- Increased thirst: Since the body expels glucose through frequent urination, the body will need to replace the expelled liquids and that will result in increased thirst.
- Extreme hunger: Since the body is unable to extract glucose from the blood, your child’s muscles and organs become energy depleted. This triggers intense hunger.
- Unexplained weight loss: Despite eating more than usual a child with diabetes may experience weight loss, sometimes rapidly. Without the energy glucose provides, the body metabolizes muscle tissues and fat stores which results in weight loss.
- Fatigue: If your child’s cells do not receive enough energy producing glucose, he or she may experience fatigue.
- Irritability: Children with type 1 diabetes have been known to become unusually irritable
- Blurred vision: If your child’s blood glucose level is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of your child’s eyes. This may blur your child’s vision
- A fruity breath odor
Signs of diabetes in teenage girls
The signs of diabetes in teenage girls are generally the same as in other children. One symptom that is specific to teenage girls and women is a severe yeast infection that keeps returning.
Signs of diabetes in a toddler
The signs of diabetes in toddlers are generally the same as in older children. However, parents should be aware that excessive urination and thirst can be the first indicators of diabetes. Some toddlers with diabetes will suffer from a dry sticky mouth or a sore throat. If a toddler has diabetes, and it is not treated they might also experience diaper rash caused by yeast, nausea, and vomiting or heavy rapid breathing.
Symptoms may occur rapidly in children with Type 1 diabetes. If your child has more than 1 of the signs of diabetes, you should consider scheduling them for a medical checkup.
Treatments for type 1 diabetes
- Type 1 diabetics must take insulin injections.
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Get regular exercise
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes primarily occurs in adults; however some children do get type 2 diabetes. Children with type 2 diabetes generally suffer from obesity.
Factors that contribute to childhood diabetes
- Family history: There is a correlation between having childhood diabetes and having a parent or sibling with diabetes.
- Overweight: Overweight children get diabetes at a higher rate than others
Complications of diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that can be controlled with proper glucose management. However, if the disease is not properly managed the complications can be extremely serious and possible even deadly. Complications from diabetes include:
- Nerve damage
- Vision problems
- Organ Damage
With proper medication and blood sugar management, children with diabetes can live full and healthy lives.