Does My Child Have Diabetes?

symptoms of diabetes in children

Symptoms of Diabetes In Children

Since symptoms of diabetes occur very gradually even in adults, it is very to figure out if you have diabetes or not, until the time you do get your blood sugar tests. Because the symptoms of diabetes such as frequent thirst, peeing a lot, losing weight, and feeling hungry are the conditions on which a person would hardly pay attention.

He/she tend to consider these normal. And when it comes to children, it is even more difficult. Children play the whole day long, and so keep feeling thirsty frequently and get tired easily. And symptoms of diabetes in children are not distinct from those noticed in adults.

But if your child is suddenly more tired and thirstier than usual, they can be early and alarming signs of diabetes. And if you detect this early, the treatment can help lower all the possible risks that might come his/her way all through his life.

Diabetes And Children

In India, every 1 out of 10 children is a diabetic. According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020, around 2,10000 children including teenagers have been diagnosed with diabetes in the United Nations.

If you ask for the whole world, there are at present 1.1 million children and adolescents under 20 years of age who are living with diabetes. Every year, over 1,32000 children are being diagnosed with diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes In Children

Type 2 diabetes is everywhere but types 1 diabetes is not on anybody’s radar unless you have somebody very close to you with type 1 diabetes. People are aware of all the other childhood and young illness but there was hardly mention of type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with weight or lifestyle. Type 1 diabetes develops out of the blue in children. Children having Type 1 diabetes don’t have their pancreas working aptly. The immune system of these children attacks the cells inside the pancreas that produce insulin.

Without insulin, glucose cannot be released from the blood, starving vital organs of energy. The symptoms of type 1 diabetes seen in children are such that it could all be very easily mixed with puberty.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes In Children

  • Your child may start behaving suddenly very strangely.
  • He/she feels extremely lethargic and suffers from a lack of energy.
  • Their breath smell fruity, sweet, or like wine.
  • They will have grunting or have heavy breathing.
  • Suddenly, they will start eating more than usual.
  • Still, they will be losing weight.
  • They will need to pee a lot.
  • They may suffer vision changes.

Type 2 Diabetes In Children

Mostly called adult-type diabetes, type 2 diabetes is also being seen in children. Earlier, this used to be found only in adults. The reasons can be multiple. One is because we are gaining weight quite rapidly. An epidemic named obesity has fueled type 2 diabetes   A quite few percentages of children all over the world are overweight today. Some are even obese.

Another reason can be a family history. Around 80% of those kids with diabetes will have at least a primary or second-degree relative who has diabetes as well. It is noticed that most girls in the age group of adolescents or teens come under the radar of type 2 diabetes.

The other reason can be ethnicity. African- American, Hispanic-American, and Indian-Pacific Islander, all of these tend to have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Children born to a mother who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at higher risk of developing diabetes in their earlier years of life itself. Premature birth is also one of the factors responsible for type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes In Children

Detecting type 2 diabetes in children can be very challenging because 50% of them don’t show signs and symptoms. They take a long time to start to come forth for people to recognize. Also, symptoms of diabetes in children may grow very slowly and gradually

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Darkened areas of skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Weight loss
  • Slow healing of sores or cuts
  • Lack of sensation in hands or feet
  • Tingling in hands and feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth

Treatment of Diabetes In Children

First of all, not only the doctors but you will also need to work closely with your child’s diabetes treatment. The main aim should be to keep the blood sugar of your as near to normal as possible.

The key points for treatment of type 1 diabetes:

  • Blood sugar monitoring: Once your doctor has told you the target range for a child’s blood sugar levels, regular testing is the only option left before you.
  • Continuous glucose monitoring
  • The choice for types of insulin: people with type 1 diabetes need insulin for a lifetime. The doctors might suggest rapid-acting insulin, short-acting insulin, intermediate-acting insulin, and long-and ultra-long-acting insulin.
  • Insulin delivery options: For delivering insulin into your body, there are several options under your way. You may choose a fine needle and syringe, or an insulin pen with a fine needle, or you may opt for an insulin pump
  • Healthy eating and lifestyle: Encourage your child to follow a healthy diet and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.

Puberty And Type 1 Diabetes

Puberty being a jarring shift for kids brings a lot of changes in their lives. They have to cope up with changing bodies, turning social lives, and upsurging hormonal imbalances. Since diabetes affects puberty as well so children with type 1 diabetes have to deal with their puberty in a little different and more conscious way. For keeping oneself healthy during this phase, they need to take some extra effort.

puberty and diabetes

How Puberty Affects Diabetes?

During the phase of puberty, the body goes through several hormonal changes. There is a release of sex hormones, called estrogen in girls and testosterone in boys. These hormones are believed to cause a hike in the blood sugar levels of the body. In addition, this is the stage of life where your kids may go through several stress issues. Because of this, stress hormones like cortisol also surge during this time.

All these hormones or chemicals can lead to changes in the cells in the body. And the cells stop using the insulin the way they did use before. Here comes the stage of insulin resistance. In such situations, the effectiveness of insulin gets decreased from 30-50%. During nights, all of these hormones are even stronger.

The exception lies with girls having diabetes. During puberty, girls with diabetes have to manage their insulin intake during the days of periods. It may happen that their blood sugar levels go higher a few days before they start bleeding. And then drop on the first day of bleeding. So it becomes the need of the hour to keep a tab on the blood sugar levels regularly. With time, they can understand the patterns and go for treatment to keep their blood sugar from rising too high or falling down too low.

How Diabetes Affects Puberty?

Of course, it’s diabetes. And it has to show its presence. If the blood sugar levels are not under control in kids suffering from diabetes, and they are not being provided with extra insulin then:

  • The onset of puberty might get delayed.
  • The boys may suffer in their development of weight or height. They might not grow as fast and quickly as the others.
  • The girls might get their first period delayed. And their menstruation cycle might not be as regular and healthy as seen in girls with no diabetes.

Going To School With Diabetes

diabetes in school going children

Well, it can be a challenge for both, the child and the parents to manage schools with diabetes. But the fact is that education is important at the same time. And so parents need to put that extra effort if they want their loved ones to feel as normal as others in school, even with diabetes. Here are some of the tips for parents sending their wards to schools:

  • Make a diabetes management plan: The plan should be inclusive of every minute detail of your child related to the symptoms of diabetes in children, his treatment, eating, and activity requirements. Make a personalized plan for your kid.
  • Team up with school staff: Inform the school staff including the principal, the teachers, the non-teaching staff, and the nurses about the condition of your child. So that they are aware of the right measures in the time of the need. If your children are too small to understand their medicines and remember the time of having them, please inform the nurses to feed them with those medicines and insulin shots in time.
  • Keep visiting school: Don’t think that your part is over once you have explained every bit of the child’s condition to the school authorities. You need to keep visiting the school on a regular basis to make confirm that the medical cell or the teachers are holding up the responsibility properly enough. Make sure everything is up to date.
  • Send your child with small lunches so that he could have them in short intervals and keep his blood sugar level regulated.

How Long Can A Child Have Diabetes Without Knowing?

The answer to this question is that there is no specific stage or time period of showing up of symptoms of diabetes in children. Generally, it is seen that it is diagnosed after the child turns 5. Or it may happen that the symptoms of diabetes are so gradual and minor that it is left unnoticed until the patient turns 30.

And the solution to this problem is just to be attentive to your child, his surroundings, eating habits, and his activities. In case you doubt any changes, sudden or gradual in his or her activity of eating, drinking, playing, sleeping, or weeing, DO NOT neglect.

Daily Plan For Your Child With Diabetes

No matter, your child has to step for your school or stay back home, you need to be a little advanced and planned to keep your child’s high blood sugar levels at bay.

1) Prepare Your Child’s Diabetes Supplies:

To maintain his/her blood sugar levels, your child will require a couple of things which would include:

  • Blood sugar meter, testing strips, and lancets
  • Insulin (syringes or pens), or insulin pumps
  • Glucose tablets or juice (in case their blood sugar level drops)
  • Glucagon emergency kit
  • Antiseptic or wet wipes (if they get any injury)

2) Prepare Meals And Snacks:

  • Make sure your child doesn’t feel the need to eat anything unhealthy outside the home. For this, you can meet a nutritionist and a dietician who will prepare a personalized plan for your child according to his taste likes, and dislikes.
  • Keep a record of your child’s calorie and carbs intake.

A Word From MantraCare

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