Nowadays diabetes is common in children. Type 1 diabetes is most common in children and teens. It is also called juvenile diabetes. Now, type 2 diabetes is also developing in children and teens because of obesity, unhealthy eating and lack of physical activities. Type 2 diabetes in children is also called adult-onset diabetes. In type 1 diabetes children need insulin. In type 2 diabetes they need proper diet and exercise. In serious case insulin may be needed.
Diabetes in children
Any way, we have described here diabetes in children in 2 phases like type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes in children
Type 1 diabetes in children and teens is a condition in which pancreas does not produce insulin for the requirements of the body. So, the insulin is provided for better functioning. This is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes. Type 1 diabetes in children can be managed by regular care, regular blood sugar monitoring and insulin delivery.
Causes of type 1 diabetes in children
The cause of type 1 diabetes is not certain but it is occurred by the immune system of the body. The immune system attracts the bacteria and viruses harmful for health. But, mistakenly it attacks and destroys the islet (insulin produce cells) in the pancreas. Genetics makes it easy and certain viruses accelerate the total processes.
After destroying the insulin-producing cells, the children are not able to produce insulin. Insulin helps the sugar or glucose to enter into bloodstream as energy to the tissues and muscles. In this way, sugar or glucose vanishes away from the children’s body. When insulin is not produced, the sugar or glucose rises in the blood and brings about complications like diabetes.
Risk factors in type 1 diabetes for children
The possible risk factors are as follows for type 1 diabetes in children:
- Family history- The diabetes from parents and siblings may add the risk of type 1 diabetes in child and teens.
- Certain genes- The presence ofsome certain genes develop type 1 diabetes.
- Some viruses- There are some viruses likecoxsackie virus, epstein-barr virus, cytomegalovirus or rubella may increase the risk of type 1 diabetes.
- Lack of vitamin D- In early age the lack of vitamin D may cause type 1 diabetes. Cow’s milk is a good source of vitamin D.
- Drinking water- If the drinking water brings nitrates, it may increase the risk of type 1 diabetes.
- Introduction of cereal- The time and pattern of child’s diet may develop the risk of type 1 diabetes. Early introduction of cereal may cause diabetes. The optimal time of introducing cereal is 4-7 months.
Complications in type 1 diabetes in children
Type 1 diabetes may affect the important organs of the children like heart, kidneys, eyes, blood vessels and nerves. Keeping blood sugar level at normal level can save your child from complications. Yet, uncontrolled blood sugar level may foster complications slowly. The major complications are as follows:
- Foot problems- If the cuts and blisters are untreated, they may become severe infections.
- Eyes damage- Long term diabetes may cause blindness, cataracts and glaucoma.
- Skin problems- Fungal infections, bacterial infections, and itching may be caused by long term diabetes.
- Blood vessels and heart diseases- Various cardiovascular problems such as- coronary artery disease with heart attack, stroke, chest pain, high blood pressure and narrowing of the arteries may be seen in the later phases of life.
- Osteoporosis- Diabetes may lower the bone mineral density and trigger the risk of osteoporosis as soon as stepping in adulthood.
- Kidneys problems(nephropathy) – Your child may face severe kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease if diabetes is not treated properly.
- Nerve damage (neuropathy) - Nerve damage generally takes place slowly for a long time.
Tests and diagnosis for type 1 diabetes in children
You can diagnose the following screening tests for ensuring the diabetes in your children.
Random Blood Sugar test- If the blood sugar level is 200 mg/dL or higher regardless of your child last eating, your children are diagnosed with diabetes. If the random blood sugar test cannot find out diabetes but still doctor suspects, he can diagnose the following tests:
- Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test- If the Blood sugar level is 6.5 percent or higher on the basis of two separate tests, your child is diagnosed with diabetes.
- Fasting Blood Sugar test- If the blood sugar level is 126 mg/dL or higher on the basis of two separate tests, your child is diagnosed with diabetes.
If the doctor diagnoses diabetes, he may check for autoantibodies by a test. It distinguishes type 1 diabetes from type 2 diabetes. If the doctor finds ketones in your child’s urine, it is type 1 diabetes.
After diagnosis diabetes, doctor observes your child regularly. He checks his blood sugar level daily and treats him as blood sugar level’s movements.
Treatments and drugs
The treatment for type 1 diabetes is lifetime. It includes blood sugar level monitoring, healthy eating, taking exercise and insulin. The diabetes treatment plan changes with the growth of your children.
- Blood sugar monitoring- You need to monitor your child’s blood sugar level at least 4 times a day with frequent finger sticks.
- Insulin and medications- The children, who have type 1 diabetes, must need insulin. There are many types of insulin like rapid-acting insulin, short-acting insulin, long-acting insulin, and intermediate-acting insulin. The doctor decides to select insulin considering the age and need of the child. The doctor also selects the insulin delivery options base on children’s necessity. He may select injectable or oral insulin.
- Eating healthy foods- Healthy foods are very important for lowering blood sugar level. The doctor suggests feed your child fruits, vegetables and whole grains that are rich in nutritious but less in fat and calories. The doctor also forbids animal foods and sweets for the children. How much your child can eat, it is also more important. A registered dietitian makes a meal plan for your children. This meal plan helps child to fills his nutritious goal and lowers blood sugar level. The foods that contain high sugar and fat are banned for your children because these foods increase blood sugar level.
- Increasing physical activities- Physical movements help to lower blood sugar level. You can arrange climbing camping with your child. You can get admitted your children into dance club or sports club. You can make your children busy in your garden. You can bring your child to school on foot and load the bag on the back of your child.
School and diabetes
Your child should be taken care for treating diabetes not only at home but also at school. The school authority should have the diabetic facilities for the children so that they can monitor the diabetic level for the children.
Type 2 diabetes in children
Unhealthy eating, lack of physical movements and overweight cause type 2 diabetes in the children. In type 2 diabetes the process of insulin is very poor or insulin does not work properly. Here insulin is available but insulin cannot use sugar to turn into bloodstream. So, sugar raises high in the blood. See the details of type 2 diabetes in children.