Diabetes can happen to children as well

  • Jan 16 , 2017

Diabetes mellitus or diabetes is a group of chronic diseases that result in too much sugar in the blood. It is a lifelong condition that affects your body's ability to use the energy found in food. There are three major types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and Gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes as most of the patients diagnosed are children or youngsters. Though, one can develop diabetes later in life till the 40s. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin.

We do not know what causes this auto-immune reaction. Type 1 diabetes is not linked to modifiable lifestyle factors. There is no cure and it cannot be prevented. Diabetes in children occurs when the pancreas does not produce insulin.

Around 10 per cent of all cases of diabetes is Type 1 and is one of the most common chronic childhood conditions. Onset is usually abrupt and the symptoms obvious. Symptoms can include excessive thirst and urination, unexplained weight loss, weakness and fatigue and blurred vision. Type 1 is managed with insulin injections several times a day or the use of an insulin pump.

Treatment:

The first thing to understand when it comes to treating diabetes is your blood glucose level, which is the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat and also is formed and stored inside the body. It's the main source of energy for the cells of the body and is carried to each cell through the blood. Glucose gets into the cells with the help of the hormone insulin.

Children with type 1 diabetes can no longer produce insulin. This means that glucose stays in the bloodstream and doesn't get into the cells, causing blood glucose levels to go too high.High blood sugar levels can make children with type 1 diabetes feels sick, so their treatment plan involves keeping their blood sugar levels within a healthy range while making sure they grow and develop normally.

To do that, children with type 1 diabetes need to:

  • Take insulin every day
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet and stick to a diabetes meal plan
  • Check their blood sugar levels several times a day
  • Get regular physical activity