Children with Diabetes

Children with Diabetes
Almost all children with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease. That means the disease cannot be cured at least at the present. What exactly is diabetes? What are the symptoms and what does it mean for your child and your family if he or she gets diabetes?

What is type 1 diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is also called diabetes. When people hear the word 'diabetes' they all too often make the link with eating too much sugar or they think you can't have any sugar at all if you have diabetes. But that is not true, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease: the immune system destroys the cells that produce insulin. These cells are called the islets of Langerhans and are located in the pancreas.

Possible indication of diabetes

Insulin is needed to carry sugars from your food intake (glucose) from the blood into the body's cells to provide you with energy. If you your insulin production is reduced or has stopped, the glucose stays in the blood.
The kidneys disposes glucose through urinating. Therefore, frequent urination is one of the symptoms that can indicate diabetes. Continues or persistent thirst and drinking a lot are also part of it, because the deficit of fluids must be refilled. If your child develops diabetes, he or she may also become dehydrated due to fluid loss.
Because the glucose does not reach the cells, and so they do not get any fuel, your child has little energy. His body will then break down fats to use as a source of energy. This releases waste products (ketones). This leads to all kinds of symptoms, such as serious fatigue. If blood sugar levels become very high, or are high for a long time, your child may vomit, be drowsy or even fall into a coma.

Children and diabetes type 1

Since most children and adolescents that have diabetes have type 1 diabetes, we will describe the possible symptoms. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, in which the body shuts down the cells that produce insulin. Usually the disease arises due to genetic predisposition or trauma but the exact cause is not always clear.
Much research is being and will need to be done into possible factors that influence the development of type 1 diabetes.

If your child develops type 1 diabetes, you will notice it by the following symptoms:

  • thirst and a dry mouth
  • drink a lot
  • urinating a lot, some children go back to bedwetting
  • weight loss
  • nausea/vomiting
  • fatigue, low energy
  • recurring infections
  • blurred vision
  • strange smelling breath
It is important to take your child to the doctor when he or she has these symptoms. If blood sugar level become very high, he or she may go into a coma. Complications can also occur if the blood sugar is too high for a long time. A doctor will measures the blood sugar value by giving a small prick in the finger, after which he puts a drop of blood on a test strip. The result is instantly know. Incase the blood sugar level is too high, your child will be referred to a child pediatrician. A pediatric diabetes team or a diabetes clinic will guide you further with the treatment and control of the diabetes.

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