Children and Diabetes

by Sharon Hopkins


Type 1 diabetes is the most commonly occurring form of diabetes in children. This condition results when the pancreas are unable to create insulin. Type 1 diabetes is categorized as an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorders result when the immune system of the body fights against some of its own organs or tissues. In type 1 diabetes, the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin are attacked and destroyed.

The exact cause of childhood diabetes is not certain. It is thought to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Most children who are affected by type 1 diabetes do not have a family history of the condition. The symptoms of this disease are similar to those of adult diabetes. These tend to develop over a period of a few weeks. Symptoms include weight loss, thirst, tiredness and increased urination. Some of the symptoms are characteristic of childhood diabetes only. These include behavioral problems, abdominal pain and headaches. In most cases of diabetes in children, insulin treatment is carried out. Daily dosages may be recommended which consist of fast acting insulin in the daytime and slow acting insulin during the night. Very young children may not require insulin injections at night. Many older children may also be advised to use insulin pumps.

Parents of diabetic children may experience significant strain. It is important for parents to seek advice and support from their doctors or hospital teams. Understanding the various aspects of this disorder and how it needs to be treated may require a great deal of patience, but will over the course of time prove to be beneficial for the whole family. The doctor will also be able to advise parents on how the insulin injections must be administered. The symptoms of low glucose levels in the blood and how to measure these levels must also be understood by parents. The diet too plays an essential role in case of childhood diabetes. The child must be given a balanced healthy diet that contains adequate carbohydrates and fiber. The size of serving portions depends on the weight and age of the child. Daily physical activity is also advisable for children with diabetes. However physical activity can lower the level of blood sugar and hence the insulin dosages must be adjusted accordingly. The child must also be given carbohydrates or juice before exercising. Regular medical check-ups must be scheduled so that late-stage complications may be detected in time.


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