It is bad enough when an adult is targeted by diabetes mellitus. But it is far worse if a small child has to put put through the same torture. What is child diabetes and how do you know whether or not your own child sufferers from it?
When diabetes occurs in children below the age of 16, it is referred to as juvenile diabetes. The most common form of juvenile diabetes is Type 1 diabetes. This type affects about 90-95% of the children. This condition is caused due to the inability of the pancreas to create the hormone insulin.
Type 1 diabetes is considered to be an autoimmune disorder, where the body's cells treat its own beta cells as enemies and attack them, thereby compromising the body's immune system.
How often can one find the occurrence of juvenile diabetes?
Childhood diabetes, per se, is not very common. Beside, it varies in relation to several countries across the globe. It is found that about 17 children in 1,00,000 are annually affected in Wales and England. In Scotland, the number is 25, while in Japan it is 3.
What is really alarming is that the number has increased by triple in the last 3 decades or so! Type 2 diabetes has now been found prevalent among youngsters in Europe and America. This may be the direct result of obesity and bad eating habits along the said generation. However, this does not explain the heightened occurrence of type 1 diabetes among children.
Causes of diabetes in children
There is no one cause that can be targeted for juvenile diabetes. This could be triggered by a variety of instances in his / her life and also several environmental situations. The children suffering from type 1 diabetes need not necessarily have a family history of the same.
How you can detect juvenile diabetes
The symptoms of child diabetes are much like those of adult diabetes. If you see the following symptoms in your child for over a reasonable period of time, you should know to fix an appointment with your healthcare professional.
The symptoms include extreme thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, unexplained fatigue, stomachaches, headaches and sometimes, even even behavior problems. Sometimes, there occurs what is known as diabetic acidosis before the disorder is actually diagnosed.
In most cases, a child suffering from diabetes will have to be given insulin treatment. Since this disorder is insulin dependent, he needs detailed treatment and constant observation of his condition.
– He should be given fast-acting insulin during the day and the slow-acting variety at night.
– Very young children may not need this night shot at such an early age. But they may require it after a certain age.
– Many children are now instructed to use insulin pumps.
A child suffering from diabetes will end up living a much longer life than one who has developed the condition during adulthood. Of course, it goes without saying that the longer he suffers with the disorder, the more chances there are of his developing complications in the vital organs of the body, such as the heart and the kidney. Although some children are unfortunate enough to display alarming symptoms after puberty, these usually show up a lot later in one's life.
Once child diabetes has been detected, regular checks should have been discharged out of age nine onwards, with a complete checkup each and every year.