Type 1 diabetes in children is a chronic disease that occurs because the pancreas stops making sufficient insulin for the body to convert glucose (sugar) to energy. No one knows for sure exactly what causes type 1 diabetes in children, but some theories include a genetic link or some types of viruses that can raise the risk for this disease. There is no cure for this condition but there are effective methods of type 1 diabetes treatment that can keep insulin and blood sugar levels in check so the patient can live a long and healthy life. This article will provide a basic overview of type 1 diabetes in children, including some of the symptoms to watch for and treatment options that are available.
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children are similar to those that adults with this condition experience. Often the first indication of a problem is an increase in thirst and urination as high sugar levels in the blood stream deplete important fluids from the body. Parents may also have a child complain of fatigue, blurred vision or insatiable hunger. A girl may also suffer from yeast infections, which can look like diaper rash in very young children.
Diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in children is often done with a blood test to measure sugar levels. This may be done randomly or after a period of fasting. If blood sugar levels are unusually high, a diabetes diagnosis may be made. The doctor may then run additional tests to determine whether the disease is type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, which is more commonly seen in adults. Type 1 diabetes in children is then usually monitored closely be medical staff for a period of time until the family is well versed in diabetes management and blood sugar levels are effectively controlled.
Treatment for type 1 diabetes in children follows a similar protocol to adults diagnosed with the disease. Because it is often difficult for children to fathom a lifetime of diabetes management, parents and doctors can help by breaking it down to one meal or one day at a time. Blood sugar monitoring will usually be done at least three times a day to ensure levels remain at healthy levels. Because the body is not producing sufficient insulin, injections will also be required daily to prevent a buildup of sugar in the bloodstream. A pump may also be used for some children to make insulin delivery a little easier.
Type 1 diabetes in children will also need to be managed through healthy eating habits and daily exercise. By teaching a child how to effectively monitor and manage his disease early in life, he will develop good habits that will lead to a long and healthy life.
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