Child diabetes causes, symptoms and treatment

According to Diabetes UK, the UK has the fifth highest rate of Type 1 diabetes in the world. Type 1 diabetes is a strand of diabetes that is not linked with obesity and lifestyle factors. About 24.5 out of 100,000 children aged 14 and under in UK are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The situation is not better in the rest of the world, either. Cases of diabetes are on the rise worldwide and so is child diabetes.

What causes child diabetes?

The exact causes of diabetes in children and adults are not clear. However, it is speculated that diabetes occurs when inherent genetic characteristics in an individual are set off by environmental factors, such as exercise and diet.

Cases of Type 1 diabetics, nonetheless, still occur in children who come from families that do not have a history of diabetes. That said, though, there are a number of symptoms that give early warning that diabetes may have developed.

Symptoms of diabetes

The main symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children are similar to those seen in adults. Some of the key symptoms that manifest over the first few weeks include:

  • frequent urinating
  • excessive thirst
  • extreme tiredness, and
  • unexplained weight loss.

Other symptoms typical of child diabetes include:

  • headaches
  • stomach pains, and
  • behaviour problems.

Treatment for diabetes

Treatment for diabetes is usually done in hospital using individual insulin delivery routines. Injections are not necessary for small children, but may be necessary as the child grows older. The insulin treatment routine is planned by a qualified doctor or in consultation with a diabetes team.

Insulin delivery routines may include frequent dosage of fast-acting insulin during the day followed by slow acting-insulin dosage at night or use of continuous insulin pumps for older children. Glucose control is also an important diabetes treatment and management measure.

Caution on managing diabetes

If you don't manage diabetes properly where it has occurred as per the advice of experts, there may be dire consequences. Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, speaking about child diabetes says:

“Type 1 diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to devastating complications and early death if not managed properly, and this is why children with Type 1 diabetes need to set off on the right path in terms of managing their condition well from the beginning. It is a tragedy that all too often this is not happening."

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