Childhood Diabetes

Definition

Childhood diabetes, generally referred to as type 1 diabetes, has a sudden onset when the pancreas stops producing insulin, which converts food into energy to sustain daily activities. To compensate for the failure of the pancreas to produce insulin, children with type 1 diabetes take up to four insulin injections daily in order to stay alive. Type 2 diabetes, generally occurs in adults although more and more children are being diagnosed with it, is characterized by the body developing a resistance to using insulin effectively. Since the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are subtle it is often difficult to diagnosis it in children.

Characteristics

  • Excessive thirst
  • Sudden onset
  • Weakness
  • Excessive urination
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of weight, even though there is hunger
  • Nausea and vomiting

What is normal?

While many children naturally experience fluctuations in physical symptoms, diabetes is generally diagnosed when multiple symptoms occur simultaneously. Drinking a lot or urinating a lot is not a sign of diabetes unless it is also accompanied by one or more of the following; unintentional weight loss, blurry vision, itchy skin and exhaustion. A good diet and regular exercise help reduce the incidence of diabetes by controlling cholesterol levels, maintaining blood sugar levels, managing weight, and promoting blood flow. Research indicates that weight loss and exercise can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes later in life.

When you should seek help:

You should seek help if your child:

  • Develops sudden symptoms
  • Has a sudden change in eyesight
  • Becomes weak or easily fatigued
  • Has change in eating habits including excessive hunger
  • Urinates a lot and is often very thirsty
  • Becomes nauseous and vomits without apparent cause

More information:

http://diabetes.org