Many people believe that diabetes can only occur in the elderly, but children are also at an increased risk of diabetes. Diabetes for children greatly affects the health and development of children. Therefore, it is very necessary to learn about diabetes in children and test for diabetes for children.
In 2017, the National Institutes of Health reported that 208,000 children and teenagers under 20 years old in this country who were diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The incidence of type 1 diabetes increased by 1.8% and type 2 by 4.8%. Thus, we can easily see that the prevalence of type 1 diabetes among children in countries, including Vietnam, has an increasing trend.
1. What is diabetes in children?
Diabetes also known as diabetes mellitus is a hormonal disease. When you have diabetes, your blood sugar metabolism will be disrupted, causing your blood sugar to stay at a high level. Diabetes is one of the main causes of kidney failure, blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
With type 1 diabetes in children, genetic factors from parents account for about 10-20%. The majority of children with type 1 diabetes are often not detected early, but only when the symptoms are too clear to discover the disease. Type 2 diabetes often occurs in children who are overweight, obese or have poor nutrition. In which is type 2 diabetes, accounting for over 90%.
Diabetes can happen at any age including children. In particular, type 1 diabetes mainly occurs in children and young adults. Diabetes in children, if not treated in time, can lead to ketoacidosis (DKA), the leading cause of death for children with type 1 diabetes. Understanding the symptoms of illness is one of the best ways to protect children from serious illness
2. Symptoms of childhood diabetes
Children with diabetes may have 1 or 2 out of 5 typical signs, in some cases no symptoms. Moreover, because diabetes is less common in children, it is easy to confuse it with some other common diseases when there are some similar manifestations. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to these manifestations to bring the child to the examination and timely treatment.
The manifestations in children are similar to those in adults and they appear within a few weeks such as:
2.1. Frequent thirst and frequent urination
This is one of the typical symptoms of diabetes in children. When a child has diabetes, he or she will very quickly thirst, drink plenty of fluids and urinate continuously. The reason is that sugar is accumulating a lot in the blood, causing the kidneys to work continuously at high intensity to be able to filter and absorb all the excess sugar.
Until the kidneys are unable to complete the process, excess sugar in the blood is excreted with the urine. At that time, your child’s urine may be covered with blood or cellular fluids. Children with diabetes will drink urine frequently, leading to dehydration. Then the baby will drink a lot of water to replace the lost water and urinate more and more.
2.2. Feeling hungry frequently
Childhood diabetes causes severe, prolonged hunger attacks, even after eating. This is due to a lack of insulin, which causes a sharp drop in the sugar in the tissues and depletes energy.
2.3. Feeling tired often
When having diabetes, children often feel tired and drowsy. There are many causes of this condition. In particular, the main reason is that the constant urination makes the cells lose energy, reducing the body’s ability to function.
2.4. Unusual weight loss
Diabetes in children makes children lose a lot of energy, because sugar is passed out with the urine. Children will eat more than usual to reduce hunger, but their tissues do not get energy from the sugar in the food. At that time, tissues are forced to take energy from the fatty tissues that have been accumulated previously. Therefore, if you see that your child has abnormal weight loss, parents should pay attention because this can be a sign of diabetes.
2.5. Blurred vision
Elevated blood sugar draws fluid from tissues including the eye’s vitreous tissue. This condition will affect a child’s ability to adjust focus. If not treated, diabetes early can lead to the formation of new blood vessels in the retina and damage to the blood vessels here. At first, diabetes did not affect vision much. However, if not treated properly and promptly the disease can cause vision loss and blindness.
Symptoms such as seizures, lethargy, rapid breathing, infection, abdominal pain, and loss of consciousness usually appear when the disease has transitioned to a severe stage.
3. Solution to reduce the risk of diabetes in children
3.1. Type 1 diabetes in children
In the past, this disease was called juvenile diabetes, which occurred when the pancreas was unable to produce insulin. When the body does not have insulin, sugar can not pass from the blood into the cells and high blood sugar can occur.
- Lifetime insulin use and blood sugar monitoring.
- Manage diet and exercise regularly to help keep blood sugar within your target range.
- Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in childhood or adolescence, but it can occur starting at any point in a person’s life.
3.2. Type 2 diabetes in children
Children are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, but it can happen when insulin isn’t working properly. When the body doesn’t have enough insulin, glucose can build up in the blood.
Normally, we can manage type 2 diabetes by:
- Change your diet as directed by your treating doctor
- Exercise more
- Keep your weight within the recommended range
- Sometimes a person with diabetes will need medication.
The risk of type 2 diabetes increases as we get older, but children can get it too. Children and teenagers with type 1 diabetes may need insulin. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with diet and exercise. If not, your baby needs to take oral diabetes medication or insulin.
Regularly give periodic checkups, including testing for diabetes children. The process of testing is quite simple and quick. To test for diabetes, the doctor will test the blood sugar in the urine or in the blood.
For people who have diabetes, it is necessary to teach them to protect themselves from harmful factors such as avoiding scratches, and adopting a reasonable diet and exercise.
Doctors recommend that to prevent disease, it is important to achieve and maintain a suitable body weight for the child’s developmental stage. Create a habit of physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, for children who need weight control need to increase exercise. They eat more green vegetables, reduce sugar, reduce fat.
It is important that parents provide with a normal living environment like other children for develop comprehensively. This will help improve the effectiveness of treating diabetes in children.
Diabetes in children is difficult to treat because child always need a lot of nutrients to develop. For people with diabetes, it is necessary to have a strict diet and exercise, otherwise it will significantly affect the progression of the disease. However, you should not be too fast, just choose alternative foods for people with diabetes and have a reasonable diet to ensure your child’s development needs. Increasing physical activity with the sick child is especially significant in helping to lower blood sugar and insulin resistance.
Diabetes need to regularly monitor blood sugar and maintain a stable blood sugar, check HbA1C every 2 months, test urine ketones to detect complications early ketoacidosis. In addition, it is necessary to pay attention to some acute complications to take timely measures such as hypoglycemia with symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue … to immediately supplement sugar for children by sucking candy, eating cakes, drinking sugar drinks … and acute complications of ketoacidosis with the following manifestations: vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, hypothermia … for prompt emergency care.
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