Diabetes in Children: A General Overview


Obesity has become a major problem across the United States today, especially in young children, causing an increase in people with diabetes and children with juvenile diabetes. Diabetes is not an easy disease to live with but it can be avoided with a healthy diet, exercise, and losing weight. Living at an ideal weight in the age of fast food and quick meals is difficult to do but it can mean the difference between living a long and healthy life and living with various illnesses or diseases.

Type 1 Diabetes Affects Children

The most common form of diabetes in children is type I diabetes; with 90-95 percent of children under the age of 16 with diabetes suffer from this type. Type I diabetes is caused by the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin. Scientists and other experts have not determined a direct cause of type 1 diabetes but feel that there is a correlation between genes and some sort of environmental triggers, such as being obese.

Doctors also say that the majority of new type 1 diabetes cases do not involve children who have a family history of type 1 diabetes. This means that the child’s parents or grandparents do not have the disease. It typically takes a couple of weeks for the symptoms of diabetes in children to develop and they include thirst, tiredness, weight loss and frequent urination. Other symptoms that are more likely to appear in children include stomach pain, behavior problems, and headaches.

Using Insulin to Regulate Diabetes

When a child is diagnosed with diabetes, he or she will need a regimen of insulin to keep their body functioning properly. If they do not receive this insulin then he or she can become seriously ill, with death a possibility. Once diabetes has been diagnosed in the child, the child’s doctor and diabetes team will determine the amount of insulin needed each day and what type of regimen the child should use during the day and during the night. Most children will take a shot of fast acting insulin during the day and slow acting insulin during the night.

Causes of Type 1 Diabetes

Children could also develop type 1 diabetes because of viral exposure, low vitamin D levels, or other dietary factors such as not enough omega-3 fatty acids in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids help to protect against type 1 diabetes, but on the other hand, drinking water with nitrates can increase the risk of developing diabetes in children. Children with diabetes can suffer from other medical complications including heart and blood vessel disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, foot damage, skin conditions, osteoporosis and eye damage.

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