It can be a surprise as well as a shocking truth for all of us that even children can have diabetes. Generally, there is a misconception that diabetes only happens to an adult that too because of the stressful life and wrong eating habits. But in actual, diabetes can happen even to a child when the body’s ability to respond to an insulin hormone gets imbalanced.
Medically, diabetes is a disease in which body’s ability to produce or respond to an insulin hormones gets impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and increased levels of glucose in the blood.
There are two types of diabetes:
1. TYPE I Diabetes – In type I diabetes, the body is not able to covert the sugar and carbohydrates into an energy that a body needs. There is no production of insulin in child’s body. In our body, there is a gland behind the stomach called pancreas which produces a hormone called insulin. This insulin maintains the sugar level and the carbohydrate level in the body. Type I diabetes usually occurs when the beta cells of the pancreas are damaged or destroyed.
2. TYPE II Diabetes – In this type of diabetes, the hormone called insulin is present, but the body is not responsive to the insulin. This leads to an increase in blood sugar levels. If type II diabetes is overlooked or left untreated, it can lead to further complications like blindness, kidney failure, and heart disease. This type of diabetes is more common and progressive in children than in adults.
Causes of Pediatric Diabetes
What can be possible causes of diabetes in children? Although there are no specific and clear reasons for the occurrence of diabetes, still the possible causes can be the following:
- Hereditary – This can be a possible cause of diabetes as it is a genetic disease. it can pass from the parents to the children. In type I diabetes, hereditary plays a major role.
- Environmental Factors – The environmental factors like stressful lifestyle and unhealthy food habits can lead to the occurrence of diabetes in children too.
- Obesity – Obesity changes the metabolism activity of a body. These changes cause fat tissues to release fat molecules into the blood. This affects the beta cells to be responsive to the insulin hormones, which causes Type II diabetes.
Symptoms of Pediatric Diabetes
To identify the signs and symptoms of diabetes in toddlers, babies and infants are not that easy. However, there are few signs and symptoms which are not that usual too. Have a look.
- Frequent Urination and Increased thirst – Most of you may or may not be known to the fact that frequent urination and an increased thirst are the common symptoms of Type I diabetes. An increased level of blood sugar leads to a reaction in the body which extracts the fluid from the body tissues. This will make your kid be continued thirsty. And frequent intake of water leads to the frequent urination. Therefore, these two situations are common during Type I diabetes.
- Fatigue – As the sugar in your kid’s body is not getting transformed into a desired level of energy, hence fatigue if felt.
- Hungry all time, still not gaining weight – Due to the lack of required energy, your kid may stay hungry all time. Despite munching, you will not be able to see a weight gain. This indicates a sign of diabetes.
- Breath is smelling like a fruit – This shows that your kid’s body is releasing sugar as it is not getting transformed into the desired energy.
- Blurred Vision – Your kid may report to you regarding his unclear vision or if he is too young to share then you may find him uncomfortable while watching the object. This can be an indication of high blood sugar levels as diabetes affects the vision also.
- Slow Healing of wounds.
If you see that there is a real reason for showing doctor to your child, then go ahead. Do not capture your second thoughts on your mind, because it is always good for your child to be safe instead of sorry.
Diagnosis & Tests
Diabetes in children can be diagnosed by the following tests:
Random Blood Sugar Test – This is one of the primary methods of screening diabetes even in children too. A blood sample will be collected from your kid’s body and will be sent for testing the sugar levels. It can be done at any time randomly.
Glycated Hemoglobin (A1C) Test- Hemoglobin is a blood pigment which carries oxygen and is attached to glucose. Therefore, this test helps to check an average level of blood sugar of past two to three months.
Fasting Blood Sugar Test – The blood sample is collected when your kid was in fasts overnight.
Is there any Treatment available?
To get treatment for diabetes for your child, take advice from a good specialist/medical practitioner as it is a disease in which any type of experiment can be harmful to your child. The doctor can guide you the best way of treating your child’s diabetes. And yes, if you follow the doctor’s advice and guidance, you can definitely keep your child’s diabetes under control.
Preventions to be taken
Preventions can be taken in the form of reducing calories, sweets and unhealthy snacks from your child’s diet. If your child is a teenager and obese, then you can talk to him freely and honestly about his weight and how to manage an extra weight. Involve your entire family to follow a healthy diet. This will encourage your child to adopt good eating habits. And yes, remember, do not expect the good changes from the Day 1 of your changed habits. It will take time but when you continue to follow it, you will get fruitful results.
Do not forget to consult with your doctor and seek support from him.
You may find useful to read my blog on Autism: Autism- Understand it, don’t Overlook