If you have a child or infant with diabetes, read on: Diabetes does not only occur in adults. A four-year-old child or even a newborn may have diabetes. Diabetes in children can be associated with dangerous events such as loss of consciousness, coma and death if not properly diagnosed and treated. Diabetes is on the rise among children and adolescents today, so parents need to know enough about it.
What is diabetes mellitus?
To get energy, our body cells need glucose to enter the bloodstream, which is facilitated by a hormone called insulin. Without insulin or if cells are resistant to insulin, sugar cannot enter the cell from the blood, so blood sugar levels rise, hyperglycemia in the long run causes damage to the walls of arteries and inflammation of tissues, and a set of common complications of diabetes, such as eye and kidney injuries, nerve disorders, foot wounds, impaired wound healing, etc.
Types of diabetes
There are two major types of diabetes known to people, both of which can occur in children:
- Type 1 diabetes:
It is caused by the pancreas not making insulin and the lack of insulin. This type of diabetes is more common in young children and even infants than type 2. Due to the lack of insulin, sugar cannot enter the cell from the blood, so blood sugar rises.
For the treatment of type 1 diabetes, proper insulin must be injected regularly, and a proper and balanced diet must be determined by your doctor. In these children, exercise management and the amount and type of physical activity are very important because there will be a possibility of hypoglycemia in strenuous activity. These children have high blood sugar but low blood insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes:
This type of diabetes is less common in children and adolescents and is more common in adolescents. The reason for this type of diabetes is that cells are resistant to insulin and do not allow insulin to function, so sugar cannot enter the cell and blood sugar rises. In the early stages of this type of diabetes, blood insulin is also high.
Weight loss and dietary changes can help control type 2 diabetes and reduce the need to start treatment, but sometimes with type 2 diabetes, adolescents or children need to use metformin and other medications.
Symptoms of diabetes in children
The following are the symptoms that are common in children with both types of diabetes:
- weight loss
- Hunger and weakness
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Changes in the taste of the mouth as expressed by the child or the smell of fruit in the mouth
- Sometimes girls get vaginal yeast infections
Take weight loss, frequent urination, thirst and hunger in your child seriously.
- Frequent urination:
- If your baby and infant soak a lot of diapers day and night
- If your child goes to the bathroom regularly
- If he has enuresis
Be sure to tell your doctor
Tell your doctor if your child regularly gets tired of playing with peers
The following symptoms may be present in pediatric diabetes:
Itching in the child’s genitals that can be caused by an infection
Very slow healing of baby wounds
Dry eyes and sometimes blurred vision
Dark underarms and back pain usually in older children and adolescents cause symptoms called Acanthosis nigricans and darkening of the skin.
When do the symptoms of diabetes appear?
Note that if a child has type 1 diabetes, the symptoms will usually progress quickly over a few weeks, But if you have type 2 diabetes, the progression and exacerbation of the child’s symptoms is slow and gradual, lasting months to years. Years ago, studies showed that only 9 percent of parents were aware of the symptoms of childhood diabetes, but recently this rate of awareness and detection of diabetes in children by parents has reached 14 percent.
As a parent, you need to know the symptoms and do not waste time seeing a doctor if you see your child. Unfortunately, parental negligence and delays in diagnosis and starting treatment can lead to the death of the child.
Too often, parents rush an unconscious child to the emergency room, and doctors find that the child has type 1 diabetes.
Children with diabetes usually have all four warning signs, such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, and fatigue, but sometimes there may be only one or two symptoms.
What are the problems and complications of diabetes in a child?
The most important and serious problem in children with type 1 diabetes,
Ketoacidosis is diabetic or diabetic coma, which doctors call DKA. Children may develop this complication if their diagnosis and treatment of diabetes is delayed. This complication is a major cause of death in young children with type 1 diabetes. When there is no insulin to get sugar from the blood into the cells, the body begins to break down and burn fat in the baby to get its energy. Toxins and waste products from fatty fuels are called tekun, which increase in the blood and the child experiences a decrease in level of consciousness, coma and even death.
Eighty percent of children under the age of two who have been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, have a history of DKA. Unfortunately, there is often a delay in diagnosing diabetes in children, which can be very dangerous for them.
Other problems and complications of diabetes in children
Older children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes are almost all overweight. Unfortunately, with the prevalence of sedentary lifestyle and the consumption of fast foods, this diabetes has increased in children. Weight management is important in controlling diet and physical activity in type 2 diabetes. The younger the age of onset of type 2 diabetes, the faster the progression and the faster the eye and kidney disorders and diseases will develop in children with type 1 diabetes. These children are also more prone to cardiovascular problems and high blood pressure than their peers.
Eye examinations and kidney tests in children with type 1 are different from children with type 2, which your doctor will tell you.
What children are most at risk for diabetes?
- History of type 2 diabetes in first or second degree relatives
- History of maternal gestational diabetes
- Obese children
- Children and adolescents with symptoms of insulin resistance such as dark skin folds
What can we do to prevent childhood diabetes?
Encourage children to be physically active
Replace fatty foods, sugary drinks, and fast foods with a balanced diet rich in nutrients, fiber, and protein.
Treat your child’s obesity. Obesity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes