Type 1 diabetes is a condition where the pancreas cannot produce sufficient insulin to lower blood sugar. It can cause several symptoms in children, such as tiredness, blurred vision, and increased thirst and hunger. Type 1 diabetes requires lifelong insulin medication to reduce the risk of potential complications.
Diabetes is a serious health condition that causes problems regulating blood glucose, also known as blood sugar. High blood sugar levels can cause serious complications over time. Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes,
The condition differs from type 2 diabetes, although both can occur in childhood. Both types have similar symptoms, but type 1 occurs when a person’s immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This means their body can no longer produce enough or any insulin, so they need to manually administer this hormone to manage their blood sugar levels. Type 2 develops when people no longer respond to insulin as effectively as they once did.
This article discusses the potential signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children and how to treat and manage the condition.
Diabetes is a
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates that over 34 million Americans have diabetes. Most of these cases are type 2 diabetes, where the body does not use insulin efficiently or make enough insulin to regulate blood sugar.
According to the ADA, 1.6 million people have type 1 diabetes, including around 187,000 children and adolescents. This is a
Type 1 diabetes
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes are largely the same for most people, but teenagers and adults are more likely to notice them. Therefore, it is important for caregivers to be vigilant and aware of possible warning signs. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children can
- increased thirst and urination
- blurred vision
- unexplained weight loss
- increased hunger
These symptoms typically occur rapidly over a few days to weeks. Increased urination and thirst are commonly some of the first signs of diabetes in children. They might also seem more irritable and restless than usual.
The onset of type 1 diabetes symptoms can occur with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This is a serious complication where a lack of glucose entering the cells causes the body to enter a state of ketosis. This is when the body starts breaking down fats into acids called ketones for energy.
DKA is a medical emergency. Symptoms may
- nausea or vomiting
- dry or flushed skin
- fruity-smelling breath
- difficulty breathing
- stomach pain
- difficulty thinking
Type 1 diabetes is an
It is unclear what exactly causes the immune system to attack cells in the pancreas. Some genetic factors can increase the risk of type 1 diabetes. For example,
However, many people without these genes can also develop type 1 diabetes. Some
Anyone with a child showing signs or symptoms of diabetes should visit a doctor for a checkup. If there are signs of DKA, it is advisable to contact emergency services immediately.
Diagnosing type 1 diabetes will involve a
Healthcare professionals can also use other tests to diagnose diabetes. These can include fasting blood sugar tests that require not eating the night before. The A1C test is a measurement of average blood sugar levels over the past few months. Glucose tolerance tests measure blood sugar before and after a drink that contains glucose.
A doctor may also check for
There is currently no cure for type 1 diabetes. However, treatments are available to help manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.
Children with type 1 diabetes will need to administer
Some children will be
Following healthy lifestyle habits are also important for people to manage type 1 diabetes throughout their life. This can include:
- eating a healthy diet
- being physically active
- keeping blood pressure within a healthy range
- controlling cholesterol levels
Type 1 diabetes can cause serious health complications over time,
- heart disease
- kidney disease
- dental and eye problems
- nerve damage
- foot problems
- sleep apnea
The first onset of type 1 diabetes symptoms is typically
Useful resources for caregivers and children with type 1 diabetes may include:
- guides on checking blood sugar levels
- guides on how to take insulin medications
- signs of diabetes in children
- information on the best insulin injection sites
- tips on healthy living for people with type 1 diabetes
- warning signs for diabetic emergencies
- advice from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)on living with diabetes
- the type 1 diabetes self-care manual by the ADA
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition that typically develops in children and adolescents but can occur at any age. The body attacks insulin-producing cells, resulting in no or limited production of insulin, which can cause high blood sugar levels. This can cause serious complications over time.
Symptoms and warning signs of type 1 diabetes in children may include increased hunger, thirst, and urination, as well as blurred vision, tiredness, and unexplained weight loss. People with type 1 diabetes require lifelong insulin medication to regulate their blood sugar. They can help manage their symptoms by administering insulin, following a healthy lifestyle, and being aware of potential warning signs of serious complications.