- by Diabetacare 24x7 Diabetes Care
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- Mar 07 2017
Diabetes in Children
Diabetes mellitus has emerged as a major metabolic health disorder in the past few decades, affecting 415 million in 2016 compared to just 108 million in 1980. Although, type 1 diabetes was referred as ‘juvenile diabetes,’ because of its occurrence in children, but during recent times, the practice of an inactive lifestyle has led to a major increase in type 2 diabetes cases amongst children as well. While adults are more capable of taking care of themselves, children need to be taken care of by their family and be encouraged to live life better instead of succumbing to the disease.
How to tell if your child has diabetes?
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children tend to develop rapidly over a period of a few weeks, while type 2 diabetes symptoms develop more slowly and may go undiagnosed for months or years. Early warning signs of diabetes in children include the following:
- Frequent Urination: Excessive sugar levels in the blood stream can pull fluid from the body’s tissues. This may leave your child running to the bathroom for frequent restroom breaks.
- Blurry Vision: High levels of blood sugar resulting from diabetes can affect your ability to see by causing the lens inside the eye to swell, which can result in temporary blurring of eyesight.
- Extreme weakness/ fatigue: If your child seems extraordinarily tired or sleepy, their body may not have enough sugar to properly fuel their normal body functions.
- Extreme thirst/ dehydration: Children who have excessive thirst may have high blood sugar levels.
- Increased hunger (polyphagia): Polyphagia is the medical term used to describe excessive hunger or increased appetite and is one of the 3 main signs of diabetes.
- Slow-healing wounds: Sores or infections that are resistant to healing or slow to resolve may be a sign of type 2 diabetes.
- Sudden weight loss/gain: Unexplained weight loss or weight gain in children maybe a sign of diabetes.
How to diagnose diabetes in children?
Discovering that your child is suffering from diabetes can be a hard time that paves way for a lot of doubts. In case the pediatrician suspects signs of diabetes, he/she will recommend a blood sugar test, a hA1C test or a glucose tolerance test. Once your child has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, he/she requires regular insulin therapy. For type 2 diabetes, the disease develops gradually in children, which makes it difficult to diagnose at the first instance. But regular tests and lifestyle changes may respond well making it easier to control.
How can parents help in diabetes management?
When it comes to children, parents are highly responsible in order to provide the much needed care. For effective diabetes management, specialists will suggest certain lifestyle changes, medications and risk factors that need to be considered by the child’s caregivers.
- Diet: The diet guidelines include having three main meals with two snacks throughout the day. A healthy balanced diet rich in fibre and carbohydrates is strongly recommended to regulate sugar levels. Sweets should not be encouraged all the time, but infrequent treats are fine as long as the child does not feel burdened by the disease.
- Physical Activity: It is a healthy practice to involve children in some form of physical activity, whether sports or exercise to stay on top of metabolism and fitness. This helps them have a better response to insulin and regulated sugar levels, in turn improving their confidence.
- Regular Checkups: It is vital for your child to have regularly scheduled checkups. This allows your pediatrician to keep an eye on the child’s health and growth as well as the effectiveness of the prescribed medications, diet routine and improvement of diabetes management.
- It is an inevitable truth that caring for children suffering from diabetes is a challenging task for the parents as well as health professionals. But, an unending support and understanding can help your child see light at the end of the tunnel, ultimately achieving a better state of mind despite diabetes.
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